An Ohio House of Representatives committee held a hearing this past week in Cincinnati to hear from tea party groups, organizations and individuals who were targeted by the Internal Revenue Service.
Interestingly, Democrat members of the committee did not attend. Rep. Mike Curtin called it "a dog and pony show."
"I don't think anyone's opposed to field hearings when they makes sense. This is a concurrent resolution that has absolutely zero impact."
While I agree with the fact that concurrent resolutions are, effectively, meaningless in their impact and only serve as a 'sense' of what our General Assembly is thinking, I can't help but wonder how many concurrent resolutions Curtin has voted for in the past.
Here is the press release announcing the key findings:
House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee Releases Key Findings of IRS Targeting of Ohioans
CINCINNATI – The Ohio House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee this week conducted a field hearing on House Concurrent Resolution 27, sponsored by Rep. Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) and Rep. Dale Mallory (D-Cincinnati) regarding the politicization of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and targeting of Ohioans.
Chairman Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) released the following statement and key findings of the House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee:
“Our committee extended an open invitation to all Ohioans who believe they were targeted by the IRS, regardless of personal political affiliation or inferred organizational association, and we are thankful many Ohioans volunteered to testify.
"Some observers have asked why we would take an Ohio House committee on the road and spend time discussing a federal agency. No one explained this better than Rep. Mallory during his sponsor testimony when he said this issue is a black eye for his region and the State of Ohio. To think that for months national news focused on Cincinnati as the focal point of abuse of government power inflicted upon ordinary citizens is troubling - and quite frankly an embarrassment to the good people of Cincinnati and our great state.
"Our Republic has a federalist form of representative government, and state legislatures must continue to play an important role in the discourse on public policy issues, including those that take place at the federal level. Our committee will continue to ensure government is accountable to hardworking Ohioans.”
Key points from testimony of Ohio residents:
· Marion Bower, the President of American PAGE, testified the IRS took an inordinate amount of time, over two years and six months, for the IRS to reach a final determination regarding their application.
· According to IRS documents submitted by Ms. Bower, in comparison to documents submitted by other groups, IRS agents were provided with much leeway in the writing of questionnaires.
· Under penalty of perjury, Ms. Bower was provided a list of activities her group could be engaged in as determined by an IRS agent, and was expected the total percentage of time and resources to add up to 100 percent. Answering honestly, one activity was listed twice, and Ms. Bower received a second questionnaire scolding her that the sum of her responses did not add up to 100 percent, forcing her to resubmit the questionnaire.
· The Ohio Christian Alliance was notified by the IRS they would be contacted within 90 days to complete their application for 501(c)3 status, it took 267 days for their organization to be contacted.
· An Ohio resident, Justin Binik-Thomas, was personally singled out in an IRS questionnaire to the Liberty Township Tea Party. Mr. Binik-Thomas had no personal, professional, or volunteer relationship with the aforementioned group and did not reside in the vicinity of the aforementioned group.
· Upon contacting the IRS Taxpayer Advocate, with a copy of the questionnaire, the Taxpayer Advocate provided two responses Mr. Binik-Thomas. The first informed Mr. Binik-Thomas that the IRS did not ask questions pertaining to individuals. The second informed Mr. Binik-Thomas that due to privacy laws the IRS could not divulge any information about questions related to Mr. Binik-Thomas.
· Tim Savaglio, Board Member of the Liberty County TEA Party, applied for tax exempt status in May 2010. Over three years later, the organization’s request is still outstanding.
· Mr. Savaglio’s organization received two questionnaires, with the first questionnaire composed of over 90 separate entries for more detailed information.