Outgoing IRS chief Steven Miller told a congressional committee Friday that wrongdoing by the agency in requiring additional scrutiny of tea party groups was not illegal.
“It is absolutely not illegal,” Miller told Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) when asked at a Ways & Means hearing.
The acting chief admitted to “foolish mistakes” in the agency, though he insisted there was no partisan targeting but rather a botched effort to simplify the task of pinpointing political groups inappropriately seeking tax-exempt status.
The exchange between Price and Miller:
Price: Would you care to recharacterize the ‘unnecessary’ word? Is it illegal, what they have done?
Miller: It is absolutely not illegal.
Price: It’s not illegal what the IRS has done?
Miller: So let me understand the question. What is your statement as to what is illegal?
Price: Do you believe it is illegal for employees of the IRS to create lists to target individual groups and citizens in this country?
Miller: I think the treasury inspector general indicated it might not be, but that others will be able to tell that.
Price: What do you believe?
Miller: I don’t believe it is.