IRS head Steven Miller testifies in House hearing

Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, May 17, 2013, before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the extra scrutiny the IRS gave Tea Party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. Credit: AP

The targeting of conservatives by the IRS was “intolerable” but simply the result of agents trying to be more “efficient” and wasn’t an act of partisanship, fired (or retiring early) acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller testified to Congress on Friday.

Miller was grilled by a House committee after the admission last week that the IRS was singling out those with names like “Tea Party” in their names for extra scrutiny while applying for tax exempt 501(c)(4) status.

“I think that what happened here was that foolish mistakes were made by people trying to be more efficient in their workload selection,” Miller said. He went on to add that while that is “intolerable,” it was a “mistake” and not an act of partisanship.

Watch it below:

Miller assured that the IRS has “learned its lesson,” this “won’t happen again,” and that “management will take appropriate action with respect to those responsible.”

But members of the House were not satisfied by Miller’s testimony.

Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) played video of former IRS Commissioner Douglas Schulman testifying on March 22, 2012 that there was “absolutely no targeting” of conservative groups after TheBlaze had started reporting those accusations in February of that year. Boustany grilled Miller on whether Schulman’s testimony was truthful given what we know now.

“Um, it was incorrect, but whether it was untruthful or not– ,” he said before interrupting himself and then trying to explain why the groups were targeted and building on his previous argument that the whole thing was an attempt to be more efficient.

He started by calling the word “targeted” a” pejorative term” and explaining that  “people in Cincinnati decided let’s start grouping these case, let’s centralize these cases. The way they centralized it: troublesome. The concept of centralization: not. We’re not targeting these people in that sense.”

He went on to say that he did not think Schulman was aware of the practice despite press reports at the time and Congressional interest in the matter:

 

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