IRS cleared of bias – Lawmakers’ panel finishes probe

A Congressional joint committee has found that the Internal Revenue Service did not single out conservative nonprofit organizations for audits or other actions.

The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation began its three-year review in 1997 after news reports accused the IRS of examining several nonprofit groups that were conservative or had opposed Clinton administration policies.

In its 163-page report, the committee said it found no evidence that tax-exempt organizations were chosen for examination because of their views or those of related individuals, the Chronicle says.

The committee also found no evidence that the Clinton administration had interfered in the selection process.

The committee did find that administration officials appear to have made two “non-routine contacts” with IRS employees, seeking private information about tax-exempt organizations, the Chronicle says.

In both case, IRS workers refused to supply the requested information.

The committee found a number of problems with the way the IRS has handled cases involving tax-exempt organizations. The problems included significant delays in providing rulings to field offices that requested them.

“These delays contributed to a perception that the IRS was not treating all tax-exempt organizations consistently,” the report said.

The committee, in accordance with federal privacy law, did not identify any of the tax-exempt organizations involved in the review.

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