Acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Steven Miller, testified before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday that the process of considering applications for tax-exempt status for conservative groups was in fact partisan.
On Friday morning, Miller told the House Ways and Means Committee that the IRS targeting tea party groups was a “foolish mistake.”
“I do not believe that partisanship motivated the people who engaged in the practices described in the Treasury Inspector General report,” he said.
He insisted the close scrutiny that conservative groups were subjected to was the result of “foolish mistakes were made by people trying to be more.”
On Tuesday, Miller told a different story. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., asked Miller if targeting groups with keywords like “tea part” or “patriot” had ended.
BURR: Mr. Miller, let me just ask you. Has this practice stopped?
MILLER: What practice, sir?
BURR: The practice of how they process the consideration of these applications -- keywords "conservative," "tea party," "patriot"?
MILLER: I believe that that did happen. The names stopped when -- last in -- when Lois Lerner first learned of it. The second listing, by the way, if you take a look at that, in the Treasury inspector general's report, is still problematic because it talks about policy positions, but it actually is not particularly partisan in how it talks about policy positions.
BURR: So it was partisan -- it was partisan before, though.
MILLER: Yes, it absolutely was.
Miller resigned from his post at the IRS last week.