WASHINGTON—The IRS probe is old news to the US Treasury.
According to the New York Times, J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, revealed that he informed the top lawyer at the Treasury Department of the investigation on June 4, at the congressional hearing on Friday. George also told Treasury secretary Neal Wolin about the investigation in June 2012.
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew also knew of the investigation before the reports came out. However, Wolin and Lew had no idea about the scandal. George said that he did not report his findings at that time. The US Treasury Department issued a statement, which confirmed George’s testimony. The Treasury Department said, “Wolin and Lew learned about the inspector general’s findings when they were reported publically last week.”
If members of the Obama Administration already knew about the probe, does that mean Obama knew as well? The president denied having such knowledge. Obama said, “I can assure you that I did not know anything about the I.G. report before the I.G. report had been leaked… through the press.”
The I.G. report said the IRS made it harder for conservative groups to get tax exemptions, which served as an obstacle for campaign fundraising this past election. Steven Miller, the former IRS commissioner denied any targeting and said the system was flawed. Miller admitted mistakes were made, but said this answer left some members of congress unsatisfied. Congressman Mike Kelly, R-Pa., said to Miller, “I don’t know if I got any answers from you today. I am more concerned than I was before.”
Tensions are high and frustration is settling in. Yet, the trial has only just begun. It has been a rough year for the U.S. government, as they have constantly put themselves under the microscope. The debt-ceiling crisis, Benghazi, the AP phone records, and now this latest debacle.
Friday was a revealing day, but there are still many questions that need answering.