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Beltway Confidential

Now Baucus, Hatch say IRS is holding back crucial documents; Issa sends subpoenas

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Darrell Issa's not the only one getting the run-around from the Internal Revenue Service.

The leaders of the Senate Finance Committee appear to be getting the same treatment from the IRS as Issa's House oversight committee regarding the tax agency's illegal harassment of Tea Party, conservative and evangelical groups seeking nonprofit tax exempt status.

"The committee sent a very detailed document request letter to the IRS on May 20, 2013. To date, the IRS has provided approximately 21,650 pages of documents in response to this letter," Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and the committee's ranking minority member, Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said Friday in a joint statement.

"They have not provided most of the information requested by the committee. Specifically, out of the 41 requests in the committee letter, the IRS has provided complete and satisfactory responses to 18 requests, it has provided incomplete/unsatisfactory responses to 10 requests and it has not provided any response to 13 requests," Baucus and Hatch said.

But Issa may have gotten a chuckle in reading the next two sentences from Baucus and Hatch in their joint statement: "The outstanding requests contain the bulk of the relevant information including key emails and documents belonging to the relevant decision makers both in the IRS and elsewhere in government."

Baucus and Hatch then note that they've provided the IRS with a list of the documents and information that has not yet been provided to the Senate panel, and reminded the tax agency that "the information needs to be provided as expeditiously as possible in order to allow the investigation to proceed."

Go here for the full Baucus-Hatch statement.

Earlier Friday, Issa announced stopped asking the IRS for documents and sent subpoenas.

"During the past two weeks, President Obama and you have repeatedly labeled the IRS's strategy of targeting Americans for their political beliefs as a 'phony' scandal. While the Obama Administration has so publicly deflected responsibility for the targeting, it simultaneously has attempted to thwart congressional oversight into the matter," Issa said in announcing the subpoenas.

"The IRS has engaged in a systematic effort to delay, frustrate, impede, and obstruct the Committee's investigation," he said in the delivery letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, which can be read here.

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Mark Tapscott

Executive Editor
The Washington Examiner