Congressmen Gerry Connolly (D-11th) and fellow Democrat U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania are asking for an investigation of the IRS inspector general.
The two have filed a complaint with the Integrity Committee of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) asking the council “to investigate actions by Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George that have called into question his independence, ethics, competence, and quality control.”
The two congressmen asked that “CIGIE’s Integrity Committee initiate a thorough review of the conduct of Inspector General J. Russell George based on the facts, evidence, and analysis contained in this letter. TIGTA produced a fundamentally flawed performance audit of the activities of the Internal Revenue Service’s Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division that harmed the public interest to such a severe extent that trust and confidence in TIGTA’s independence, ethics, competence, and quality control have been called into questions and its effectiveness is threatened.”
George was nominated by President George W. Bush. and confirmed by the Senate for the job in 2004.
In their 22-page letter of complaint, Connolly and Cartwright, both ranking members of subcommittees under the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, cited, “serious concerns over the troubling activities of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), including noncompliance with respect to conducting a performance audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards issued by the Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).”
Connolly and Cartwright said congressional inquiries have called into question the objectivity, credibility, and independence of IG George’s audit work, noting that it has been “incomplete and, at times, outright misleading.” They said IG George’s actions have called into question the credibility of TIGTA’s May 14 final audit report and “cast serious doubts about IG George’s integrity in directing this specific audit and responding to questions concerning its methodology and findings.”
In their letter of complaint, Connolly, who is ranking member of the Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations, and Cartwright, who is ranking member of the Oversight Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs, also cited evidence of inappropriate partisanship by the IG. “IG George appears to have officially sanctioned audit processes and procedures that both in appearance and in reality indicate TIGTA’s Office of Audit was conducting an audit on behalf of, and in consultation with, Republican members – to the exclusion of Democratic members and staff.”
The letter of complaint was addressed to Beth Cobert, Deputy Director of Management at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Phyllis Fong, Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Joseph Campbell, Deputy Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Cobert is CIGIE’s Executive Chair; Fong is CIGIE’s Chair, and Campbell is Chair of CIGIE’s Integrity Committee.