Top Democrat questions inspector general's handling of IRS scandal

Russell George the inspector general investigating the IRS scandal is now under fire himself.
Russell George the inspector general investigating the IRS scandal is now under fire himself.

WASHINGTON (FOX19) - The top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, which is investigating the IRS scandal in Cincinnati, wants to call the agency's inspector general back to testify. Russell George is the man in charge of the audit that provided many of the details about IRS employees targeting Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status.

But Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) says George left out some important information when he testified in front of Congress. Cummings released an e-mail Friday from the head of investigations at the inspector general's office to his superiors. It was written in May before George testified. In it, the investigator said he pulled 5,500 e-mails from the Cincinnati office and there was "no indication" the targeting of the tax-exempt applications was "politically motivated."

Cummings also released documents showing that progressive groups, like the "Occupy" movement, were listed as targets for closer scrutiny.

However, George Brunemann, one of the people who helped found Cincinnati's Tea Party, believes there's more to this story. He says the vast majority of progressive groups had their applications approved quickly, while many of his Tea Party friends across the nation are still waiting to hear back from the IRS.

"That's just a smokescreen," Brunemann said, of Democrats' assertion that their groups also faced extra scrutiny from the IRS.

Rep. Cummings hopes to get clarification by having George called back before the committee to answer more questions about his findings. But that's up to the Republican chairman of the committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California). The committee's next hearing on the IRS scandal is set for Thursday morning on Capitol Hill.