A series of letters between Senator Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Subcommittee on Investigations, and top IRS officials throughout 2012 discuss how to target conservative groups the senator claimed were “engaged in political activities.”
In response to a Levin March 30 letter citing the “urgency of the issue,” then-DA seeputy Commissioner Steven Miller assured the senator that IRS regulations were flexible enough to allow IRS agents to “prepare individualized questions and requests” for select 501(c)(4) organizations.
In perhaps the most revealing letter from the IRS to Levin, Miller on June 4, 2012, takes 16 pages to explain to the senator what IRS regulations and policies may and may not be used to evaluate political groups and assures him that the agency has considerable leeway in picking and choosing which groups would be subject to additional scrutiny:
Testifying before the Senate Finance Committee today, Miller said he came up with the idea to disclose the targeting of Tea Party groups by planting a question on a Friday at an American Bar Association conference, in hopes of softening the blow of the IRS Inspector General’s report that the agency knew would be coming out the next week.
Miller told the committee of the planted question, “Obviously the whole thing was an entirely bad idea.”
Miller also had knowledge of the IRS’s inappropriate targeting of Tea Party groups as early as May 2012 in his role as deputy commissioner but failed to inform either the president or Congress.