Round 2: IRS Faces Angry Lawmakers Today

Round 2: IRS Faces Angry Lawmakers Today

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The Internal Revenue Service returns to Capitol Hill today to testify before the Senate Finance Committee at 10:00 a.m. , after facing a tough line of questioning by the House Ways and Means Committee last Friday about why the agency targeted Tea Party groups for review.

Acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller—who retired last week at President Obama’s request—and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George will be joined at the Senate hearing by Doug Shulman, the former IRS commissioner who left the agency at the end of last year.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will also be on Capitol Hill to appear before the Senate Banking Committee and deliver the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s annual report. Though the hearing isn’t focused on the IRS scandal, Lew will likely be peppered with questions related to new developments.

Monday afternoon, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that chief of staff Denis McDonough and other top officials learned about the inspector general’s audit in late April. Carney claims that President Obama was not informed about the report until it was reported in the news on May 10.

IRS officials will return to Capitol Hill again on Wednesday morning to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Witnesses will include George, Shulman, IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner, as well as Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal S. Wolin. -  See the hearing schedule here

BAUCUS AND HATCH WANT ANSWERS, IRS…41 OF THEM    Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Sen. Orin Hatch, R-Utah, sent a letter to Internal Revenue Service executives ahead of the hearing Tuesday with 41 requests for information, including the exact words and phrases the IRS used to target organizations and all documents between the IRS and White House officials with regard to the targeting of certain groups. “The highly legalistic letter seeks the name, grade, and position title of any IRS official aware of the policy. The committee seeks to know which disciplinary actions were taken,” The Fiscal Times’ Josh Boak reports. “It contains a 108-word definition of what constitutes a “document,” so that the agency cannot hide material from the committee.”  -  Read more at The Fiscal Times

COBURN SEEKS TORNADO AID    Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Ok, said Monday that he intends to offset federal aid with cuts elsewhere in the federal budget in order to provide relief to victims of a massive tornado that ripped through Oklahoma City suburbs Monday and killed at least 51 people.

Coburn, however, may face some pushback, as he and his fellow Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) supported a measure that would have substantially cut $60 billion in emergency relief for victims of Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the East Coast last October. -  Read more at Talking Points Memo

DOD BEHIND ON AUDITING $574 BILLION IN CONTRACTS “The Pentagon’s internal auditing arm charged with ensuring that DOD spends its money properly has a $574 billion backlog – leaving potentially tens of billions of overpayments to contractors on the table,” The Fiscal Times’ David Francis. 
“Due to a series of costly personnel decisions, a dramatic rise in defense spending over the last decade, and a 24,000-audit backlog that seems nearly impossible to clear, the (audit) agency is under fire from lawmakers for failing to complete its mandate and failing to recover tens of billions in overpayments to contractors.”  -  Read more at The Fiscal Times

SENATE PROBE: APPLE DODGES BILLIONS IN TAXES    Apple has escaped paying billions in taxes by funneling money through three offshore companies, according to a new report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released Monday. The report, which shows Apple’s three subsidiaries had no official tax residence and paid little or no taxes to any government, comes ahead of a congressional hearing Tuesday at 9:30 a.m., where Apple CEO Tim Cook and two company executives will testify. The company’s prepared testimony denies that it is improperly hiding its assets overseas or that it is using “tax gimmicks.” -  See the hearing memo here

Brianna Ehley is the former Washington Correspondent for The Fiscal Times. She is currently a reporter on Politico's health care team in Washington, D.C.