Former IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson tells The Washington Examiner he is “saddened” about the allegations that the agency targeted conservative political groups for extra scrutiny.
Everson, who served under President George W. Bush from 2003 until 2007, said that under his watch he made a point of ensuring that investigations into tax-exempt groups were evenhanded.
“In my experience, the service was always scrupulous in making sure it didn’t run afoul of any politics in any way, or get involved in being partisan,” said Everson, who is now vice chairman of the tax consulting firm alliantgroup. “We worked very hard to be balanced on any issue and that is critical in order that Americans maintain respect for the IRS and more broadly, for their government.”
Everson called the allegations “a serious matter that needs to be thoroughly investigated.”
In 2005, under Everson’s watch, the IRS was scrutinized for the way it examined the tax-exempt status of churches. The Treasury Department's inspector general, which is now looking into the current conservative bias claims, found no political bias at the time, though it faulted the agency for other flaws, including missed deadlines, “lack of clear guidance, [and] inadequate resources.”