WASHINGTON -- The Internal Revenue Service failed to subject liberal groups seeking tax-exempt status to the same rigid scrutiny as Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations, the agency's acting chief and a Treasury Department inspector general confirmed Thursday.
Testifying before a hostile House Ways and Means Committee, Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel acknowledged publicly the existence of a "be on the lookout" list, which included the term "progressives." Democrats have insisted this list proves that the inappropriate IRS treatment of conservative groups extended to liberals.
But Mr. Werfel's acknowledgement of a list involving "progressives" came shortly after a letter to a top Democrat from J. Russell George, the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration, made clear that liberal organizations simply were not subjected to the same kinds of inappropriate IRS treatment as were conservative groups.
Mr. Werfel did not dispute GOP assertions that "progressive" groups got softer treatment from the IRS and said he continues to investigate "what were the circumstances that caused these inappropriate labels to occur.
Tax code do-over
WASHINGTON -- The Senate's chief tax writers want to scrap the entire code and start from scratch in their push for a tax overhaul, and on Thursday they gave lawmakers a month to make a case for preserving some of the $1.3 trillion in breaks on the books.
In a letter sent to all 98 of their colleagues, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and his Republican counterpart, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, said they would take a "blank slate" approach to the tax code that assumes the removal of thousands of popular perks, including such sacrosanct policies as the deduction for mortgage interest, the child credit, and the lower tax rate for dividends and capital gains.
Transportation chief OK'd
WASHINGTON -- Anthony Foxx, the mayor of Charlotte, N.C., and a political ally of President Barack Obama, was unanimously confirmed by the Senate Thursday to be transportation secretary.
As mayor, Mr. Foxx, 42, has pushed for expanded use of streetcars and a light rail extension, helped build a new runway at Charlotte Douglas International Airport and helped create a new regional freight distribution center that will link planes, trains and trucks to East Coast ports. He also has unveiled a pilot program for electric vehicle charging stations.
Ex-N.J. Gov. Corzine sued
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed a civil lawsuit against former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine on Thursday, laying on him responsibility for the misuse of customer money while he headed brokerage firm MF Global, which collapsed in 2011.
The agency also sued Edith O'Brien, who was an assistant treasurer at MF Global with the authority to approve transfers of customer funds.
Also in the nation ...
Rachel Jeantel, the young woman who spoke to Trayvon Martin by phone moments before his death, came under bruising cross-examination again Thursday as defense lawyers raised questions about the accuracy of her story and the setting in which she was first interviewed by the chief prosecutor in the case. ... Scientists reported that NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft had entered the heliosphere, the last layer of our sun's reach.