The IRS acknowledging that it targeted conservative political groups during the 2012 election season has sparked bipartisan calls for investigation
-- with House Republicans already saying they will hold a hearing on the issue.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Friday the Republican-led chamber would investigate the tax-collecting agency for flagging the groups for additional review to see whether they were violating their tax-exempt status.
“The IRS cannot target or intimidate any individual or organization based on their political beliefs,” the Virginia Republican said.
Cantor’s comments were followed within minutes by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp saying he would hold a hearing.
The IRS on Friday apologized for targeting groups, but Camp, R-Mich., argued the agency had “repeatedly denied” such activity.
“The admission by the agency that it targeted American taxpayers based on politics is both shocking and disappointing,” he said.
The committee has jurisdiction over the IRS, but it remains unclear whether other House committees also will investigate the issue, in which roughly 300 groups were flagged.
Republicans were joined by a leading Senate Democrat in the call for congressional investigations.
Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, said members have already been looking into the IRS's failure to make sure tax-exempt groups engage only in social welfare activities -- not partisan politics.
“Today’s announcement by the IRS raises a second issue: whether the IRS, to the extent it has enforced its rules, has been impartial in doing so,” Levin said Friday. “Both issues require investigation.”