Graham Audit Prompts House to Widen IRS Probe

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Although the Obama administration blamed rogue IRS agents in the Cincinnati office for the Tea Party targeting scandal, a House oversight committee says it's appearing more as if the abuse is rooted in Washington.

The news comes as House Republicans indicate they may look into the use of audits against non-profit groups like the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the Family Research Council, and the Virginia-based Leadership Institute.

Franklin Graham says his organization was audited after taking out full-page ads supporting a same-sex marriage ban.

In a letter to President Obama, he wrote, "I am bringing this to your attention because I believe that someone in the administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us."
"This is morally wrong and unethical - indeed some would call it 'un-American,'" Graham said.

White House press secretary Jay Carney has called the IRS pursuit a phony scandal. The president did likewise, implying it's hurting the economy.

"With this endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals, Washington's taken its eye off the ball," Obama said Wednesday as he kicked off his economic tour.

The charge isn't likely to deter some House leaders, after they learned IRS agents were ordered to send Tea Party reviews to the IRS Office of Chief Counsel in Washington.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, recently told a group of pastors in Iowa that as impossible as it seems - abolishing the agency is what's needed.

"How do we abolish the IRS?" he said. "We get millions of Americans across the country lighting up the phone, lighting up the mail, lighting up the email, calling their elected representatives and saying, 'stand for principle.'  That's how we do it.  The American people demand accountability."

Revelations about IRS abuses are slow in Washington, and the investigation may indeed be determined by grassroots Americans.

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John Waage

John Waage

CBN News Sr. Editor

John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.