...by blaming the Inspector General.
The government watchdog who issued the report that found the IRS was targeting conservative groups was turned into a punching bag by Democrats in the second half of a tense hearing Thursday, leading Inspector General J. Russell George to chide lawmakers for their attacks on his office.
“This is unprecedented,” he said of his treatment before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at the end of the hearing.
The first half of the hearing was devoted to testimony from IRS officials who claimed higher-ups in Washington, D.C., were involved in applying additional scrutiny to Tea Party and other groups.
But the second half featured George and his associates, and ended up becoming a forum for Democratic lawmakers to accuse him of effectively ignoring potential signs that liberal groups may have been targeted as well. They pointed in part to IRS documents that suggest “progressive” groups may have been singled out.
George, though, said he didn’t see one of those packets until last week. He said he was “disturbed” it took so long for the IRS to produce the documents.
But George has also said all along that the evidence mostly pointed to conservative groups receiving the most scrutiny. He bristled at the tough questioning from Democrats which repeatedly second-guessed his office’s audit of the IRS’ practices.