CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Ahead of a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday, the top Democrat and Republican on the panel are demanding to know the names of all IRS workers in Cincinnati who were aware that conservative groups were getting extra scrutiny, FOX19 has learned.
The letter, which was sent today to acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller and obtained by FOX19, asks for the "name, grade, and position title of every IRS supervisor, IRS manager or other IRS employee who (became) aware of the procedures that were being used in the Cincinnati office to inappropriately target these applications" from Tea Party and other conservative political groups. It was written by the finance committee's Democratic chairman, Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, and the ranking Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.
The IRS acknowledges that some of its employees in Cincinnati used keywords like "Tea Party" to home in on nonprofit group applications that were political in nature. However, accounts differ as to when IRS supervisors here and in Washington learned of the inappropriate conduct.
FOX19 has also obtained questionnaires the IRS employees in Cincinnati sent to conservative groups. Leaders of those groups say the questions were of such a personal and private nature that they violated the U.S. Constitution.
The Senate Finance Committee meets at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill. Miller, the acting IRS commissioner; J. Russell George, the Treasury Department's inspector general whose report on the abuses in Cincinnati was released soon after the agency disclosed the practice to a group of tax lawyers in Washington; and Douglas Shulman, the previous IRS commissioner who denied any inappropriate targeting of political groups in testimony before Congress last spring.
"There's absolutely no targeting," Shulman told the House Ways and Means Committee on March 22, 2012. "This is the kind of back and forth that happens to people" who apply for tax-exempt status, he claimed.
Senators will likely demand answers about whether he had any knowledge about the use of keyword-targeting in the flagging of applications in the IRS office in Cincinnati when he made those remarks last year.