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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Testifying in front of the House Ways and Means Committee, acting IRS commissioner Steve Miller apologized for his agency Friday.

“I want to apologize on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service for the mistakes that we made and the poor service that we provided,” Miller said. “The affected organizations and the American public deserve better.”

Agents at the IRS decided to take a shortcut in 2010 that has created an uproar, “centralizing” a number of factors that could raise suspicions that these fledgling non-profits might not be focused primarily on “social welfare.” One of those factors — and here’s where they made their biggest mistake — was focusing on groups with “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names. Later they revised this policy to focus on  “political action-type organizations involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform movement,” according to the IRS Inspector General’s report.

The result? Some 300 groups were identified for extra scrutiny — among them, 70 were Tea Party groups. It’s not clear how many groups were turned down, yet it’s clear at least one Democratic group was.

Miller — who is stepping down from his position at the request of the administration — insisted that the actions were not intended to target conservatives.

“I think that what happened here was that foolish mistakes were made by people trying to be more efficient in their workload selection,” he said. “The listing described in the report, while intolerable, was a mistake, and not an act of partisanship.”

Under questioning by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Miller pointed out that though progressive groups were not identified by name, the IRS actually collected more information on left-leaning groups than Tea Party groups. The lifelong bureaucrat even rejected the notion that his agency was “targeting” anyone, insisting that was a pejorative term to describe the “listing” the agents were doing.

Republicans continually tied the scandal to attacks on the IRS in general, often citing audits by their supporters as proof of the agency’s overreach.

“The reality is this is not a personnel problem. This is a problem of the IRS being too large, too powerful, too intrusive and too abusive of honest, hardworking taxpayers,” said Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI).

But Miller had another explanation for why his agents pursued such questionable practices — funding. The commissioner asked the committee to increase funding to his agency, citing budget constraints as a major reason why agents sought shortcuts to identify questionable applications.

“In the last 10 years, the budget of the IRS, adjusted for the size of the population and inflation, has come down 17 percent,” according to tax expert David Cay Johnston.

Committee members offered several examples of groups being denied 401(c)(4) status or delayed endlessly. However, there’s no evidence that suggests Republican spending was hindered by this IRS’s shortcut.

“Of the 21 organizations that received rulings from the IRS after January 1, 2010, and filed FEC reports in 2010 or 2012, 13 were conservative,” writes OpenSecretsblog‘ Robert Maguire.  “They outspent the liberal groups in that category by a factor of nearly 34-to-1, the Center for Responsive Politics analysis shows.”

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

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26 responses to “Outgoing IRS Chief Blames Underfunding For ‘Foolish’ Mistakes”

  1. rustacus21 says:

    … I don’t know that anyone caught this; it went by while the conservative inquisitors railed on incessantly over NOTHING, but Mr. Miller gave a stunning insight we all need to pay ATTENTION to: “… there were NO Obama appointees (in leadership) at the agency…” Why? The individual, like the backlog of judges & other appointee’s are being held ‘hostage’ to conservative subversives, traitors & seditious fiends who have convinced those moronic American’s they are their worst enemy – they – the American people – are the enemy! We, the people, ARE the government! READ U’r Constitution/Federalist Papers for clarity… Much NEEDED clarity… Then vote Liberal/Progressive this coming MidTerm – as our Constitution demands…

    • mike says:

      Douglas Shulman was a hold over from Bush years with the approval of President Obama. So, he was appointed/approved by Obama.
      Subversive crap is all in your head. Conservatives have always questioned his motives, policies, leadership skills, and now they are being proven right. Obama is just to cool, to above it, to distant, to know how to govern.

      • Darsan54 says:

        And the Republicans’ record on governing? Two useless wars, near collapse of the world economy and drowned American city. Not to mention the on-going destruction of the middle-class economic future. Yep, let’s just turn the govt. over to individuals and everything will be alright.

        PS: It’s “too” not “to”. poor grammer and spelling undercut the creditability of your argument. Or maybe you’re just a poor typist, who doesn’t proof.

        • mike says:

          So my grammatical error undercuts my creditability, now that is hilarious.

          Your creditability blows up when you try and blame Bush’s governing for the collapse. How naive and uninformed you are. If you have the nerve here are some sites for you to find the real truth. Not MSNBC, Media Matters, or Daily Kos.
          I will give you an easy one to start with so you salivate over the title.
, titled “Bush can share the blame for financial crisis” Read and learn.

          Next try this one: cause-of-the-2008-financial-crisis, Titled: The cause of the 2008 financial crisis.
          I’ve got many more articles about 2008 to show how ridiculous you think and sound. At least be intellectually honest.

          So next time you want to play the “Middle Class” game remember your party is part of the problem.

          As to the wars: Obama said Afghanistan was the “Good War” and look how quickly he’s getting out of there.

          Well, my effete snob have a wonderful evening.

      • rustacus21 says:

        Neither U nor any other conservatives here or anywhere else, have the decency 2 address my accusation that THIS President – like U’R President (choices) has the RIGHT 2 GOVERN in a way their ‘support’ constituency EXPECTS of him – meaning, putting together his own cabinet, of the best, most qualified individuals available (So keeping a ‘hold-over’ is NOT “approval” thereof). HE CAN’T! & why?! These are the PROBLEMS that R INEVITABLE in using ‘someone else’s’ “talent” which as results shew from the 2001-2009 administration, were WAY SUB-PAR!!! From top 2 bottom!!! By limiting THIS President, conservatives guarantee the performance of this administration will be SUB-PAR as well! This is basic, childish, elementary SABOTAGE – at a time when the nation needs unity more than EVER!!! So give that crap a rest will U already!!! Obama is STILL – in spite of the obstructions – FAR superior to ALL post-Eisenhower Republican Presidents COMBINED!!! Of course, that’s my opinion, but the facts speak for themselves – even at this mid-point in his dual term legacy… & I DEFY U or any other conservative 2 prove me wrong!!!

        • mike says:

          Looks like you help my position. Conservatives question his leadership skills and that includes who he hires. If Shulman was so bad then he should never have held him over. I guess just poor management skills will suffice.
          I never said he didn’t have a right to appoint to any position.

          We will wait and see if Obama’s Presidency will be any better than those before him. Obamacare could be a big rotten egg.

          Economy not turning around, unemployment and underemployment too high.

          An administration in crisis from lies, abuse of power, arrogance.

          I keep hearing: DRIP, DRIP, DRIP

          • rustacus21 says:

            All the negatives U mention are the result of what…? President Obama comes in, leaves all the programs EXACTLY THE SAME as they were when the 2001-2009 administration was in & yet, to his (Obama’s) credit, has made a better run w/them then the actual originators of those same Depression-inducing policies. Of particular note are steady job increases (see: http://moneydotcnndotcom/galleries/2012/news/economy/1206/gallerydotObama-economy/index.html – replace ‘dots’ where applicable) as well as deficit reductions (see http://www.guardiandotcodotuk/business/economics-blog/2013/may/15/us-budget-deficit-austerity-stimulus & also http://articlesdotlatimesdotcom/2013/may/14/nation/la-na-deficit-shrinking-20130515), therefore completely OBLITERATING any arguments of incompetence of THIS President. His primary fault is fearing a backlash if he became too close to the ONE statesman who could have expertly tutored him thru this crisis (Bill Clinton), but in spite of the landmines, snares, traps & obstructions, THIS President has still overcome conservatives attempts to make their (conservatives) paranoia & complete misrepresentations of him (President O.) reality, by withholding their (conservatives) support in a time of national crisis! Think 4 a moment, how better along we’d ALL be as a nation, had Republicans acted like Patriotic American’s, lending their so-called expertise to the goal of overcoming a Depression their policies created in the 1st place? Maybe that’s why they refused to help – GUILT!

          • mike says:

            Steady jobs increase; less working now than in 2007. Participation rate now 63%. 2007 PR was 66%, 5% unemployment. Now 63% and U6 rate 13.9% unemployed/marginally attached. Not good numbers.

            Yes deficit has gone down, but not for the reasons you think. Some cuts have been made but the kicker is HIGHER TAXES. Yes the middle class has been hit hard, remember obama’s pledge no more taxes on the middle class.If you had read further into the reports you would have seen greater deficits starting in 2015. You gave only part of the truth.

            More debt is what right fought.

            Guilt none.

            Why didn’t Obama jump on his own Bowles/Simpson commission recommendations. Ever think about that.

          • rustacus21 says:

            My only recommendation at this point is to read your Constitution. After that, try the Federalist Papers, which is a wonderful pre-emptory/contingency look into the heart of what a peoples Democracy should look like. From there, U’ll understand why the Clinton administration was so successful, his predecessor was such a catastrophe & why the lingering after-affects of the 2001-2009 administration damned the Obama administration to a continuous, non-stop, mop-up operation that has yet to get started & may be another 8 years B4 ceasing. I have nothing to convince U to stop w/the Fox Network/Rush/Nat’l Review propaganda intake, than to say read “Liberal/Progressive” literature, to get a clearer understanding of what Democracy really is…

          • mike says:

            The one who needs to look at the Constitution is your Professor of Law, oh wait, Uni. of Chicago said he never was a Professor of Law. Oh well, he is the one that has no interest in the freedom or liberties of the People. Disagree with him and he will have the whole govt. down on you. Frank Vandersloot and Catherine Engelbrecht are perfect examples targeted for their political position.

            As to Clinton for all the good economic news, just remember the 2008 collapse started when Clinton pushed Fannie Mae and Freddie mac from normal banking rules, larger leverage ratios than other institutions. Banks were forced to make riskier loans which were folded into mortgage-backed securities which fannie Mae and freddie Mac sold world wide as triple-A ratings.

            Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, and Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 are the real killers than started the meltdown of 2008.

            Not one party was without blame but your ilk can’t see the truth

          • rustacus21 says:

            I’ve NEVER voted Republican in life, so my conscience is clear. I have no guilt or psychological conflicts to have to work thru in therapy. The ’08 collapse happened in 2008. The people he (Clinton) was RESPONSIBLE FOR PUTTING TO WORK between 1993-2000 could AFFORD their homes, lets not forget – ALL 23 million of them! What happened after 2000? When Fannie & Freddy & Arthrur Andersen & Enron & MCIWorldCom & seniors & vets & retirees had their pensions RIPPED OFF from the damn bank! & 4,000 PLUS promising lives lost & Environment that may never recover in the lifetime of Homo sapiens (or any other current life forms now living) or the regulators of ALL the above taken OFF THE JOB – including those investigating the perps of 9/11 – ALL happened WHEN? There’s no need trying to xplain any of this, as ALL that U mention above has been played over & over & OVER again on rite wing media & debunked as what it is. U & conservatives like U carry the guilt of what U ALL did to a nation that was perfectly fine (well, maybe not perfect, but more so on 1/19/01 than 1/19/09 & THAT is FACT!!!) & THEN summarily & quite intentionally destroyed b/c ALL American’s were getting a piece of what the Constitution GUARANTEED the White & Black & Hispanic & Asian & refugee & illegal who made an honest try & contributed to the LIBERAL/PROGRESSIVE, CONSTITUTIONALLY mandated promise of our DEMOCRACY… Dispute if all U want, but facts are STILL FACTS…

          • mike says:

            So debunk it with articles and facts. Don’t give me your opinion just produce the articles that Bush caused it all in 2008. Good luck!!! Produce the facts it was all Bush’s fault.

            While you are looking: NY Times-Bush can share the blame for financial crisis. NYTimes is right wing? LOL

   cause of the 2008 financial crisis
   caused the economic crisis. Fact check is right wing. LOL

            Do some research and learn instead of regurgitating MSNBC, Media Mattersd, etc.. Time to come out from under the rock.
            Show me wher I am wrong, should be an easy task with all your knowledge.

  2. cats33 says:

    Sambo is behind all of it. Anyone can say they are sorry for what happened after damage has been done. What about all of those who were targeted and terrorized. Will they get the money back that they had to spend for being terrorized? Will we have a re take on the election that Sambo and the IRS stole.? The only thing they and Sambo are upset about, is now everyone knows they are out right crooks and shysters Prison!!

    • disqus_fsqeoY3FsG says:

      Who is Sambo?

      • Allan Richardson says:

        Remember the old children’s book “Little Black Sambo” in the 1950’s? If you are too young, look it up. The story line is that a small boy in Africa named Sambo, who lives in a village of straw huts, disobeys his mother by going into the jungle alone. He is then chased by a tiger (a TIGER? IN AFRICA?) but runs so fast in circles that the tiger melts into a pool of butter. This book contained all of the then current white stereotypes of black people, so it passed out of use in first grade reading long ago.

        So this person, whom others have called Lana, is either old enough to remember that book, or found it in an attic, read it and “saw the light”, or was indoctrinated by the use of that book in Klan meetings. Even the stupid and hateful nickname “Obozo” is preferable to “Sambo” because it is not racist.

        • ococoob says:

          Racist pig!

          • Allan Richardson says:

            I am not the one who called the President “Sambo” and I was the one who called out Lana for doing so. By the way, I read that book when I was a child, so I forgot some of the details. The author DID indicate that Sambo lived in South India, but the illustrations suggested the “minstrel” stereotype of an African.

          • disqus_fsqeoY3FsG says:

            Mr. Richardson – Thank you for enlightening me.
            Cats33 – you probably claim to be a Christian, but you are actually a Racist White Christian. It is amazing your house of worship doesn’t fall down on you for your Hypocrisy. Remember you God Fearing Christian – God loves all his children even a Racist Hypocrite like .

    • Jim Myers says:

      The main difference between you and the vast majority of the idiots on the extreme right is that you are BLATANTLY RACIST, while the rest pretend to not be racist.

      • cats33 says:

        Your’re the racist. You don’t want Allen West as President, I do—your perfect little princess, Sambo is a terrorist. Even the media is turning on him : ))

  3. montanabill says:

    “We have a problem and can only fix it with more money!”….Standard first sentence from the head of every department and agency in government. The second sentence, “Nobody told me. I didn’t know anything about it.”

  4. option31 says:

    Oh I get it, we did not have enough money so we spent extra time, manpower, effort and money harassing 500+ groups and citizens, instead of going after really big fish like Google, GE , Microsoft etal. and their tax avoidance schemes. Does anybody believe that lie?

  5. Darsan54 says:

    The Republicans have acted like the IRS is a criminal organization and worked diligently to underfund and destroy it. Sorta like having the Medellín Cartel determine the budget for law enforcement.

    • Allan Richardson says:

      I like that analogy! The Tea Party slush fund front charities DESERVED to be audited, as did any liberal organizations that did the same thing. And just like the Mafia godfathers, everyone KNOWS, even though there is no legal PROOF, that liberals have much less money to distribute this way than conservatives.

      As for “harassing the little guys” it is an unfortunate fact that when a big company is audited, they have good lawyers to fight the audit, while smaller entities are likely to pay up after getting one letter. In this case, of course, the issue was not after-the-fact audits to get more money, but the application to get tax exempt status. And all the organizations eventually got their status, even though many of them probably did not deserve it.

      We are expecting a bureaucracy chartered to enforce laws passed by Congress to interpret the gray areas in vaguely written laws. The law called for the IRS to get ALL the needed information on EVERY application, but there were not enough resources to take care of all the applications quickly, and no further resources were coming, thanks to Congress. They had to start SOMEWHERE, and since IRS agents and supervisors follow the news just like anyone else, they knew which applications were most LIKELY to be scams, and acted accordingly. If NONE had been checked, Congress would have screamed about that. If the BIG guys had been checked, Congress would have screamed about that. In short, Congress and the private sector individuals who set up the Tea Party organization SET UP THE IRS to make it look anti-American no matter what they had done.

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