House Hearing to Question IRS Head About Targeting of Small Businesses

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | July 11, 2013 | 10:23 AM EDT

Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel will be questioned about whether the IRS is targeting small businesses, not just the non-profits it admitted unfairly scrutinizing, in a House Small Business Committee hearing on Wednesday, July 17, 2013.

The “Internal Revenue Service and Small Businesses: Ensuring Fair Treatment” hearing will seek to identify how the IRS selects, classifies and audits the tax returns of small businesses “in light of revelations that the IRS used inappropriate criteria to unfairly target certain groups.”

“Our intention is to make sure small businesses aren’t being unfairly audited or scrutinized for inappropriate purposes, as has occurred with some conservative leaning nonprofit groups,” Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) explained in announcing the hearing.

The administration has already exhibited a disposition to politically target small businesses, a release by Graves warns, pointing to controversial, and ultimately derailed, Executive Order issued in 2011:

“In April 2011, a draft Executive Order (E.O.) would have required businesses seeking federal contracts to disclose to federal procurement officials any political contributions made by the businesses’ employees during the prior two years.

"In May 2011, the Small Business Committee held a joint hearing with the Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the draft E.O. The proposal was overwhelmingly criticized by the business community, and by a bipartisan group of Members. The E.O. was never released, but suggested that political targeting of small businesses could be considered by this administration.

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