IRS allegations ‘troubling,’ officials say

WASHINGTON – Two more West Virginia lawmakers on Tuesday jumped into the mix criticizing the Internal Revenue Service for targeting groups based on political reasons.

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said it was unacceptable and U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., said those responsible must be accountable if violations occurred.

Recent disclosures allege the IRS went after conservative organizations, such as tea party groups, which had applied for tax-exempt status. The accusations came out of a Cincinnati office.

“IRS actions to target groups based on their beliefs are deeply troubling and wholly unacceptable,” Rockefeller said in a statement on Tuesday.

On Monday, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., issued statements condemning the alleged actions by the agency. Manchin said it was intolerable and Moore called it un-American.

President Barack Obama also vowed to take appropriate action. The allegations will be in a report by the Inspector General.

Rockefeller is a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which will investigate the allegations.

“The Senate Finance Committee has launched a bipartisan investigation,” Rockefeller said. “We’ll review carefully the independent Inspector’s General report and tackle the key questions of what happened, how it was handled, who is responsible, and how it’s going to be fixed.”

An investigation may not be enough, Rahall said.

“Congress has a responsibility to serve as a check on the executive branch and must ensure that any abuses of the public trust receive open scrutiny. I urge the administration to cooperate fully as congressional hearings get underway. Law and tax enforcement must be above reproach and beyond partisan accusations. If violations of the law occurred, the appropriate officials must be held accountable.