House Democrats clear WH in IRS scandal report

Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee released a report Tuesday stating that the White House had no role in the Internal Revenue Service targeting mostly conservative groups for detailed scrutiny of their tax-exempt status.

The report, released by Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the ranking Democrat on the committee, faults bad management and ‘inappropriate’ screening protocols for a process that subjected several tea party groups to lengthy reviews. After interviewing 39 witnesses, oversight committee Democrats concluded that there’s no ‘evidence whatsover to support Republicans accusations that the White house was involved in any way with the screeining of tax-exempt applications,” the report states.

Led by Committee Chair Darrell Issa, R-Calif, Republicans have alleged that the screenings were politically-motivated vendettas against tea party and conservative groups, even though more liberal groups applying for tax expempt status also were subjected to time-consuming, exhaustive, investigations.

The Democratic report comes ahead to two key votes in the House of Representatives this week, including one to hold Lois Lerner, former head of the IRS’ Exempt Organization division, in contempt of Congress. Lerner twice invoked her Fifth Amendment rights in refusing to testify before Issa’s committee.