Capitol & State

Crapo presses for expansion of inquiry into IRS targeting of conservative nonprofits

Joining his Republican colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo is calling for an immediate hearing on missing emails from IRS officials, including the embattled former chief of the office overseeing tax-exempt nonprofits.

The 11 Senate Republicans wrote Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Wednesday, urging a hearing "as soon as practicable" and noting that Lois Lerner, former director of the IRS Office of Exempt Organizations, has refused to talk to Finance Committee investigators.

The Republicans also wrote Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, Attorney General Eric Holder and Federal Election Commissioner Lee Goodman asking them to produce any electronic records between their agencies and Lerner.

"The IRS should not be the determiner of political activity and certainly should not be using its authorities to hinder the activities of groups it disagrees with," Crapo said in a news release late Wednesday. "The agency has been less than forthcoming with information critical to fully understanding how this could have happened and what reforms are necessary to ensure that the kinds of wrongful actions carried out by the agency never occur again."

Crapo and Idaho Sen. Jim Risch are among  40 Republicans cosponsoring S. 2011, the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act.

Crapo's news release follows:

Crapo Seeks To Expand Investigation Into Wrongful IRS Targeting

Senator calls upon federal agencies to produce email records of communication with top IRS officials

Crapo, a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, was joined by his Republican colleagues on the committee in requesting Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) immediately convene a hearing to allow for a public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the missing electronic correspondence records from key IRS officials.

In a further attempt to uncover whether there was obstruction of a Congressional investigation into the efforts to silence political dissent through tax scrutiny, Crapo also called upon the U.S. Treasury Department, the U.S. Attorney General and the U.S. Federal Election Commission to produce any record of electronic communication between the respective agencies and then-IRS Director of the Office of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner and other top IRS officials.

The IRS should not be the determiner of political activity and certainly should not be using its authorities to hinder the activities of groups it disagrees with,” said Crapo. “The agency has been less than forthcoming with information critical to fully understanding how this could have happened and what reforms are necessary to ensure that the kinds of wrongful actions carried out by the agency never occur again.”

Since learning of the inexcusable targeting by the agency, Crapo has demanded strong reforms, joining 39 Senate colleagues to introduce the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act which would require the IRS to revert back to standards and definitions that were in place on January 1, 2010—a date prior to the agency’s targeting.

In addition to Crapo, the letters were signed by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Thune (R-South Dakota), Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Patrick Toomey (R-Pennsylvania).

To read the full text of the letter to Chairman Wyden, click here

Letter to the U.S. Treasury Department is available here.

Letter to the U.S. Attorney General is available here.

Letter to the U.S. Federal Election Commission is available here

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