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House chairman sees IRS errors as part of pattern

    Ousted IRS chief Steve Miller, right, and J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, were sworn in on Capitol Hill, today, prior to testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the Internal Revenue Service practice of targeting applicants for tax-exempt status based on political leanings.

WASHINGTON » The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee says the Internal Revenue Service’s improper targeting of tea party and conservative groups seems to be part of a culture of cover-ups and political intimidation by the Obama administration.

The remark by Republican Dave Camp of Michigan came as his panel began a hearing on the IRS’s tough screening of conservative groups.

The panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, disagreed with Camp and warned that the hearing shouldn’t be aimed at scoring points for election campaigns.

The ousted head of the IRS, Steven Miller, said in a prepared statement that while his agency made mistakes, they were caused by a desire to efficiently handle growing numbers of applications for tax-exempt status — and not caused by political viewpoints.

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