Congress holds hearing on tougher scrutiny of IRS

Congress holds hearing on tougher scrutiny of IRS

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Ousted IRS chief Steve Miller, right, and J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, are sworn in on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Friday, May 17, 2013.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) Ousted IRS chief Steve Miller, right, and J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, are sworn in on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Friday, May 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Treasury Department's top investigator for tax matters is telling Congress that he is still investigating whether outside political pressure caused the Internal Revenue Service to improperly target conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

The Treasury inspector general for tax administration, J. Russell George, made the comment in remarks prepared for delivery Friday to the House Ways and Means Committee.

George released a report this week that criticized IRS officials for lax management that let workers target tea party and other conservative groups for intensified scrutiny. The report said IRS officials have said they received no outside political pressure to change their standards to focus on the conservatives.

George says the IRS actions raise questions about whether the agency treated all taxpayers fairly, a basic part of its mission.

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