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Top IRS official failed to reveal Tea Party targeting

WASHINGTON (AP) — Acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Steven T. Miller repeatedly failed to tell Congress that tea party groups were being inappropriately targeted, even after he had been briefed on the matter.

The IRS said Monday that Miller was first informed on May, 3, 2012, that applications for tax-exempt status by tea party groups were inappropriately singled out for extra, sometimes burdensome scrutiny.

At least twice after the briefing, Miller wrote letters to members of Congress to explain the process of reviewing applications for tax-exempt status without revealing that tea party groups had been targeted. On July 25, 2012, Miller testified before the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee but again was not forthcoming on the issue — despite being asked about it.

At the hearing, Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, told Miller that some politically active tax-exempt groups in his district had complained about being harassed. Marchant did not explicitly ask if tea party groups were being targeted. But he did ask how applications were handled.

Miller responded, "We did group those organizations together to ensure consistency, to ensure quality. We continue to work those cases," according to a transcript on the committee's website.

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