Representative Darrell Issa (R-California) admitted this week that he had known for a year about allegations of the Internal Revenue Service selectively targeting Tea Party groups for scrutiny, but had chosen not to make public accusations until the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration had completed its report. Issa is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Republicans have accused Democrats and the Obama administration of attempting to cover up the emerging scandal.
"I knew what was approximately in [the report] when we made the allegations about a year ago,” Issa told Bloomberg Businessweek. “This is one of those things where it's been, in a sense, an open secret, but you don't accuse the IRS until you've had a nonpartisan, deep look. That's what the IG has done. That's why the IGs in fact exist within government, is to find this kind of waste and fraud and abuse of power."
It has been revealed that in scrutinizing the requests of 501(c)(4) “civic betterment” groups for tax free status, the IRS specifically targeted groups with the words “tea party” and “patriot” in their applications. During the 2012 election season, conservatives were using these groups to shield the identities of large political donors.
The alleged misconduct began when the IRS was under the leadership of Douglas H. Shulman, who was appointed by George W. Bush in March 2008, and retained by the Obama administration.
Issa asked the inspector general for an investigation last spring, after hearing of the allegations.
In May 2013, the inspector general released a report confirming the targetings to congressional investigators, but not to the public.