WASHINGTON — The Tea Party targeting scandal shows the need for a major shake-up of the Internal Revenue Service, the chairmen of Congress's two tax-writing committees said Friday morning.
"There does need to be a fundamental restructuring," said Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. "There are real problems here. The Cincinnati office is almost cut off from D.C. Not entirely, but it's tough. You have 90,000 employees, it's tough to manage them all."
The IRS Cincinnati office is at the center of the scandal, because that's where every application for tax-exempt status is first processed. Transcripts of interviews with IRS employees there show that low-level employees first raised questions about Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status in 2010 but that Washington supervisors micromanaged the process of those applications. The Tea Party groups were channeled into a separate, more stringent review process that delayed their approvals for months or years.