The Buzz

IRS gets scrutiny from Kansas, Missouri lawmakers

Updated: 2013-07-17T17:55:58Z

By DAVE HELLING

The Kansas City Star

Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri convened a hearing Wednesday to hear from the acting Internal Revenue Service commissioner — even as Democrats suggested the scandal involving IRS targeting of non-profit conservative groups was overblown.

In his statement, Graves said he wanted to know if the IRS was targeting small businesses. He chairs the Small Business Committee in the House.

“Our intention is to make sure small businesses aren’t being unfairly audited or scrutinized for inappropriate purposes, as has occurred with some nonprofit groups,” Graves’ statement said.

IRS commissioner Dan Werfel’s prepared statement said the agency is working to improve its scrutiny of business compliance following allegations the agency improperly singled out tea party groups when it reviewed applications for non-profit status.

At the same time, Democrats in the House claim the allegations have been overblown.

“Since ... Republicans first began accusing the Administration of targeting ‘the president’s political enemies,’ the Committee has identified no evidence whatsoever—documentary, testimonial, or otherwise—to substantiate these claims,” said a statement Tuesday from Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings.

In the meantime, Rep. Lynn Jenkins — joined, apparently, by Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri — has introduced legislation allowing taxpayers to tape record interviews with the IRS or other federal agencies.

The agencies would be required to notify citizens of their right to tape record the discussions, Jenkins’ office says.

Jenkins and Blunt are Republicans, as is Graves.

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