Politics

Former IRS commissioner: Obama’s re-election was not a factor in timing of disclosure

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter

WASHINGTON — Former Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Doug Shulman told members of the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday that the 2012 election was not a factor in the timing of the admission that the IRS had been inappropriately targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny.

Shulman previously testified that he was made aware of the presence of a list of terms — including “tea party” — that IRS officials were using to flag certain groups for increased scrutiny in the spring of 2012, but he said he did not know the extent of it, and he did not disclose that information to Congress.

“You did know there was an election going on that year?” asked Tennessee Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais.

“I’m aware,” Shulman said.

“Do you think that that type of information could potentially harm a president in an election year? Did that cross your mind?” DesJarlais asked.

“No, that did not cross my mind,” Shulman responded. “I was commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, and we got a piece of information of concern. I meet my obligation not to think about elections but to think about was, once the information came, was it being dealt with properly.”

Shulman noted that he was told that the practice had been stopped, and that the inspector general was looking into it.

“I feel very comfortable with my actions,” he said.

Follow Alexis on Twitter