Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. on Friday called for the White House to conduct a "transparent, government-wide review" after the IRS admitted that they scrutinized conservative groups during the 2012 election. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, the Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus and others quickly followed.
“Today’s acknowledgement by the Obama administration that the IRS did in fact target conservative groups in the heat of last year’s national election is not enough," McConnell said. "Today, I call on the White House to conduct a transparent, government-wide review aimed at assuring the American people that these thuggish practices are not underway at the IRS or elsewhere in the administration against anyone, regardless of their political views."
“The admission by the Obama administration that the Internal Revenue Service targeted political opponents echoes some of the most shameful abuses of government power in 20th-century American history," Boehner said.
The IRS apologized for focusing on tea party groups during the camaign, but denied any political motive.
At an American Bar Association meeting, Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS unit that oversees tax-exempt groups, said organizations that included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their applications for tax-exempt status were singled out.
“Even the appearance of playing partisan politics with the tax code is about as constitutionally troubling as it gets,” said Michael Macleod-Ball, chief of staff at the ACLU’s Washington legislative office. “With the recent push to grant federal agencies broad new powers to mandate donor disclosure for advocacy groups on both the left and the right, there must be clear checks in place to prevent this from ever happening again.”
Conservative groups complained during the election that they were being targeted. Some tax-exempt charitable groups can conduct political activities but it cannot be their primary activity.
Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La. sent a letter to the IRS Friday requesting the agency release all communications containing the words “tea party,” “patriot,” or “conservative,” and names and titles of all individuals involved in the discrimination."Despite their unwillingness to cooperate, more than a year later, the IRS has now admitted to what we long suspected – it was targeting tea party groups," he said. "The IRS’s ‘too little too late’ response is unacceptable, and I will continue to work to ensure there are protections in place so no American, regardless of political affiliation, has their right to free speech threatened by the IRS.”
In March 2012, Boustany asked the IRS to explain why it was "questioning new tax-exempt applicants, including grassroots political entities such as tea party groups, about their operations and donors." Boustany, chairman of the oversight subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the IRS denied the allegations.