Topics: House of Representatives

Ways and Means chairman: IRS intimidated, discriminated, abused groups 'based on their beliefs'

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,House of Representatives,IRS

The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, opening the latest hearing on IRS abuse of conservative groups, said the tax collectors practiced a "culture of political intimidation and discrimination" to "abuse individuals based on their beliefs."

Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., wasted no time in lowering the boom on the IRS, charging that it was involved in a political witch hunt armed with a "broken tax code."

"Despite nearly two years of denials, last month the IRS finally admitted the truth — three years ago the agency began systematically targeting individuals based on their political beliefs," said Camp, opening a hearing that featured groups targeted by the tax agency.

"Americans were affected by the culture of political intimidation and discrimination that was cultivated by this targeting," he said. "At its core, this investigation is about how and why the IRS was empowered and allowed to use a broken tax code to abuse individuals based on their beliefs — and seemingly only based on their beliefs."

Camp revealed more details on what the agency wanted from conservative, Tea Party groups in their politicized probe into requests for tax-exempt status from the organizations following President Obama's 2008 election and the passage of Obamacare.

His list of what the IRS demanded included:

» Copies of all activity on Facebook or Twitter;

» Resumes of all past or present employees;

» Whether past or present employees or a member of their family plans to run for office in the future;

» A list of past or present board members or members of their family that volunteer at a tax-exempt organization;

» Information on their interaction with the media;

» Details regarding the group's relationship with a private taxpayer;

» List of donors.

"What the agency has yet to admit, and what we still need to find out, is just how widespread this activity was, who ordered it and why it began in the first place," said Camp.

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