What did the White House know about the IRS targeting conservative groups and when did it know it?
Crucial evidence needed to develop an accurate answer to that question would include the records of any communications that went back and forth between the IRS and the White House on the topic.
In a May 14 letter signed by Chairman Dave Camp and Ranking Member Sander Levin, the House Ways and Means Committee demanded precisely those records from the IRS. In the same letter, the committee also demanded the records of any communications between IRS and the Treasury on the matter, plus other information and records that would help the committee understand the facts about IRS actions that subjected to heightened scrutiny conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Chairman Camp and Ranking Member Levin gave the IRS a deadline of Tuesday, May 21 to comply with their committee’s demand for the information and records.
The IRS–which requires working Americans to file their tax returns by an April 15 deadline each year or else face penalties–did not comply with this deadline imposed by the congressional committee that has oversight over its activities.
“The Committee has not received a response to the Camp-Levin letter,” House Ways and Means Spokeswoman Sarah Swinehart told CNSNews.com late Tuesday after the IRS had closed for business for the day.
“Chairman Camp expects the IRS to comply and provide full and complete responses to the letter since many of these questions were asked, but went unanswered, in Friday’s hearing,” said Swinehart.
The letter that Camp and Levin sent to the IRS a week ago Tuesday asked the agency to answer thirteen questions about its targeting of conservative groups and, where relevant, provide all internal agency documents and communications substantiating its answers.
Two of the committee’s questions sought records of any communications between the IRS and the Treasury and the IRS and the White House about the targeting of conservatives groups.
“As the Committee on Ways and Means continues its investigation into these IRS practices,” Camp and Levin wrote the IRS, “we request that the IRS provide the following information by May 21, 2013: …”
“Did the IRS at any time notify the Treasury Department of the targeting of conservative or any other groups?” Camp and Levin asked. “Provide all documents and communications between the IRS and Treasury on this matter.”
“Did the IRS at any time notify the White House of the targeting of conservative or any other groups?” asked Camp and Levin. “Provide all documents and communications between the IRS and the White House on this matter.”
In their letter, Camp and Levin said the IRS had not been “completely truthful” with the committee in the past on this matter.
“We are deeply troubled by the recent admission of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that the agency has been singling out organizations for additional review based on their political beliefs,” Camp and Levin said in their letter to the agency. “Despite repeated calls for cooperation, the agency failed to be completely truthful in its responses to the committee during its nearly two-year long investigation of this matter, and in testimony before the committee.”
On Monday through Tuesday morning, CNSNews.com made multiple phone and email inquiries to the IRS press office asking if the agency intended to comply with this request for information and records from the House Ways and Means Committee. The IRS did not respond.