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Apology time

"Apology time" Continued...

Werfel counted the leak as one of three areas he is focusing on in his revamping of the agency, along with the targeting of conservative groups when it comes to applications for tax-exempt status and the lavish conference expenditures made by IRS employees.  

Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn., called for more pressure and punishments that go beyond public scolding at congressional hearings.

“The problem throughout government is that we don’t have enough incentives or pressure for people to save money, and we end up with these ridiculous expenditures because it is not coming out of the people’s own pockets,” Duncan said. “What I have seen happen so often when we go through these times where it gets a lot of publicity and a lot of attention but two or three years later we are back into these things again so we need to stay on top of that.”

Meanwhile as the committee’s lawmakers lectured the IRS staffers at the hearing, another set of 35 conservative members of Congress sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency over their own version of targeting. A new report by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) found discrimination in the EPA’s handling of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) fee waiver requests. The CEI’s report said that the EPA approved fee-waivers for 92 percent of applying left-leaning groups while denying 93 percent of right-leaning groups that applied.

Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise of Louisiana said this stark differential was not a coincidence.

“Politics should not play a role in approving or denying fee waivers, and the EPA clearly crossed the line by injecting bias and favoritism into their decision making process,” Scalise said.

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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