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Acting IRS chief says it wasn't about politics
Friday - 5/17/2013, 11:40am EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The man who's just been forced out as acting chief of the IRS is apologizing for what he calls "the mistakes that we made and the poor service we provided."
Steven Miller has been testifying today to the House Ways and Means Committee about the IRS targeting of conservative groups, which got tougher scrutiny for their applications for tax-exempt status. Miller insisted that political bias wasn't the reason for the heightened scrutiny. Instead, he said, the IRS was struggling to efficiently handle growing numbers of applications for the tax-exempt status.
But Republicans on the panel made it clear they want IRS officials to pay a bigger price. Even though Miller and another top IRS official are stepping down, Republican committee chairman Dave Camp of Michigan said that wouldn't be enough. He said it's not a "personnel problem" -- but instead a problem of "the IRS being too large, too powerful, too intrusive and too abusive of honest, hardworking taxpayers."
He also said the activity seems to be a part of a broader pattern of intimidation and cover-ups by the Obama administration.
That brought a sharp retort from the committee's top Democrat, Sander Levin, who said the hearing shouldn't become a preview of next year's political campaigns.
146-a-08-(Steven Miller, former acting IRS commissioner, testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee)-"Inspector General's report"-Former Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller says mistakes were to blame for targeting conservative groups, not political views. (17 May 2013)
147-a-07-(Steven Miller, former acting IRS commissioner, testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee)-"act of partisanship"-Former Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller says he doesn't believe politics played a role in targeting conservative groups. (17 May 2013)
148-a-26-(Congressman Sandy Levin, D-Mich. ranking member, House Ways and Means committee, at hearing)-"very big mistake"-Michigan Democrat Congressman Sandy Levin says he doesn't want the hearings on the IRS to be politicized. ((actual cut length is :19)) (17 May 2013)
145-a-12-(Congressman Dave Camp, R-Mich. chair, House Ways and Means committee, at hearing)-"did it go"-Republican Congressman Dave Camp says there are many questions about the IRS targeting certain political groups. (17 May 2013)
APPHOTO DCCD113: Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, right, and Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., listen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, May 17, 2013, as ousted IRS Chief Steve Miller and J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, testify before the committee's hearing on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) practice of targeting applicants for tax-exempt status based on political leanings. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (17 May 2013)
APPHOTO DCCD112: House Ways and Means Committee members, from left, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, committee chairman, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich, and the committee's ranking Democrat Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., listen to testimony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, May 17, 2013, from ousted IRS Chief Steve Miller and J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, during a hearing on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) practice of targeting applicants for tax-exempt status based on political leanings. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (17 May 2013)
APPHOTO DCSA106: Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, May 17, 2013, before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the extra scrutiny the IRS gave Tea Party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (17 May 2013)
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