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IRS documents show liberal groups vetted like Tea Party: Democrats

Posted by on Jul. 12, 2013 at 10:26 AM
  • 24 Replies

 

IRS documents show liberal groups vetted like Tea Party: Democrats

By Kim Dixon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Liberal-leaning "Occupy" groups received similar tax scrutiny from the Internal Revenue Service as conservative "Tea Party" groups, according to documents released on Friday by a Democratic lawmaker, who said the IRS had been subjected to one-sided attacks.

Representative Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives' Oversight and Government Reform Committee, released documents from 2010 and 2012 used by IRS staff reviewing tax-exempt applications that suggest the key word "Occupy" was in the same category for added review as Tea Party applications.

"Occupy Wall Street" and similar left-leaning groups have sprouted up in recent years to protest corporate power.

Cummings blasted the chief of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), who issued a report two months ago that said the agency targeted conservative terms like "Tea Party" and "Patriot" when examining applications from non-profit political groups seeking federal tax exemption.

"This investigation ... has been characterized by one-sided and partial information leading to unsubstantiated accusations with no basis in fact," Cummings said in his letter to Representative Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the panel.

Cummings called for TIGTA's chief, J. Russell George to be summoned before the committee.

The IRS documents released by Cummings add another wrinkle to the Tea Party targeting inquiry that has triggered the worst crisis in years at the tax collecting agency.

Two months ago, the affair burst into view when an IRS official acknowledged that conservative groups seeking tax exempt status were inappropriately targeted, after agency officials had denied to lawmakers that the groups had received such treatment.

The scandal led President Barack Obama to oust the IRS chief from his job. Other IRS officials were also removed. The use of the targeting, or "BOLO" lists, was suspended and the FBI, as well as congressional committees, are conducting investigations.

Documents released by Cummings include a May 3, 2013 email between George and his deputy for investigations, with the deputy concluding after a search of 5,500 IRS emails there was no indication of political motivation in the Tea Party searches.

The potential use of liberal terms to select applications for added scrutiny came up last month when another Democratic lawmaker, Representative Sandy Levin, released several BOLO lists with terms like "Progressive."

TIGTA said in a letter to Levin that although liberal terms were on BOLO lists, there was no indication that they received the same added review and delay as Tea Party and other conservative groups.

The inspector general noted that in many BOLO lists, the word "historical" was used next to progressive, suggesting it was not an active issue.

Cummings released internal documents, including emails and Power Point presentations that showed words like "Occupy" were actively being used as late as February 2012.

One document suggests "Progressive" was used during a July 2010 training, along with "Tea Party," as key words that indicated potential political activity.

Groups seeking tax exemption under federal law may engage in limited amounts of political activity, depending on the type of exemption sought. This and the vagueness of the rules often make it difficult for IRS agents to tell which groups overstep and become ineligible for tax exemption.

The scandal led President Barack Obama to oust the IRS chief from his job. Other IRS officials were also removed. The use of the BOLO lists was suspended and the FBI, as well as congressional committees, are conducting investigations.

by on Jul. 12, 2013 at 10:26 AM
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Replies (1-10):
cjsbmom
by Lois Lane on Jul. 12, 2013 at 3:33 PM
4 moms liked this

The more I learn about this, the more I think the IRS was doing its job. They are supposed to fully vet any organization that has applied for non-profit status that may have a political agenda. Non-profits are not allowed to practice politics. At least not 501(c)(3) nonprofits, which are what is at issue here. 

Happymamax2
by Silver Member on Jul. 12, 2013 at 3:37 PM
1 mom liked this

The "liberal" media must have missed that one!  Strangely enough, as soon as that came out, the whole "scandal" got no more press mania....

Friday
by HRH of MJ on Jul. 13, 2013 at 1:39 AM


Quoting cjsbmom:

The more I learn about this, the more I think the IRS was doing its job. They are supposed to fully vet any organization that has applied for non-profit status that may have a political agenda. Non-profits are not allowed to practice politics. At least not 501(c)(3) nonprofits, which are what is at issue here. 

That's what it sounds like to me.

 


Thank God......it's Friday!!!

Erinelizz
by Bronze Member on Jul. 13, 2013 at 1:49 PM
1 mom liked this
I noticed that too. It's not nearly as good of a story without divisive political spin.

Quoting Happymamax2:

The "liberal" media must have missed that one!  Strangely enough, as soon as that came out, the whole "scandal" got no more press mania....

sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Jul. 13, 2013 at 2:14 PM
2 moms liked this
This is in the republican Playbook

Now when election time comes up they can mention this, fast and furious, Benghazi and all the other made up "scandals" the rubes will only remember the lies and not the actual truth behind them..

That way, we spend months debunking their made up bullsh*t and not talking about any real issues or solutions


Quoting Happymamax2:

The "liberal" media must have missed that one!  Strangely enough, as soon as that came out, the whole "scandal" got no more press mania....

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Friday
by HRH of MJ on Jul. 13, 2013 at 7:13 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting sweet-a-kins:

This is in the republican Playbook

Now when election time comes up they can mention this, fast and furious, Benghazi and all the other made up "scandals" the rubes will only remember the lies and not the actual truth behind them..

That way, we spend months debunking their made up bullsh*t and not talking about any real issues or solutions


Quoting Happymamax2:

The "liberal" media must have missed that one!  Strangely enough, as soon as that came out, the whole "scandal" got no more press mania....

I notice they are ignoring this post.

Fascinating.

 


Thank God......it's Friday!!!

gdiamante
by Silver Member on Jul. 13, 2013 at 7:17 PM

The vetting of liberal groups was reported weeks ago, actually. I was wondering if this was an old article.

grandmab125
by Gold Member on Jul. 13, 2013 at 11:54 PM

 This, is full of crap.....

Quoting sweet-a-kins:

This is in the republican Playbook

Now when election time comes up they can mention this, fast and furious, Benghazi and all the other made up "scandals" the rubes will only remember the lies and not the actual truth behind them..

That way, we spend months debunking their made up bullsh*t and not talking about any real issues or solutions


Quoting Happymamax2:

The "liberal" media must have missed that one!  Strangely enough, as soon as that came out, the whole "scandal" got no more press mania....

 

grandma B

grandmab125
by Gold Member on Jul. 14, 2013 at 12:00 AM

 It's being ignored, because this is old so-called news.  And Elija Cummings is full of crap.

Quoting Friday:


Quoting sweet-a-kins:

This is in the republican Playbook

Now when election time comes up they can mention this, fast and furious, Benghazi and all the other made up "scandals" the rubes will only remember the lies and not the actual truth behind them..

That way, we spend months debunking their made up bullsh*t and not talking about any real issues or solutions


Quoting Happymamax2:

The "liberal" media must have missed that one!  Strangely enough, as soon as that came out, the whole "scandal" got no more press mania....

I notice they are ignoring this post.

Fascinating.

 

grandma B

grandmab125
by Gold Member on Jul. 14, 2013 at 12:01 AM

 

IRS inspector general: No, liberal groups weren't "targeted" the way tea-party groups were

posted at 11:21 am on June 27, 2013 by Allahpundit

 

Righties on Twitter are citing this as proof that, contra desperate liberal claims, the scandal's not over yet. Isn't the real significance of this that it makes the scandal worse? Three days ago, the IRS's new acting director hinted that the agency had been targeting progressives too, a claim supposedly confirmed by the IRS's latest report to Congress. Lefties naturally took that to be a smoking gun that there was never any political bias. Now here comes IG Russell George to say that, according to his audit, it's all basically a lie:

"Our audit did not find evidence that the IRS used the ‘progressives' identifier as selection criteria for potential political cases between May 2010 and May 2012," George wrote in the letter obtained by The Hill.

The inspector general also stressed that 100 percent of the groups with "Tea Party," "patriots" and "9/12" in their name were flagged for extra attention.

"While we have multiple sources of information corroborating the use of Tea Party and other related criteria we described in our report, including employee interviews, e-mails and other documents, we found no indication in any of these other materials that ‘progressives' was a term used to refer cases for scrutiny for political campaign intervention," George wrote to Levin, the top Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee...

George's letter says that the "progressive" identifier on BOLO lists was not in a section used for selecting potential political cases, and that the IRS had developed inappropriate criteria to flag Tea Party applicants as potentially political.

According to George, six of the 20 progressive groups that applied for tax-exemption between 2010 and 2012 received close scrutiny. Of the 292 tea-party groups that applied, ... all 292 did. In fact, didn't the IRS claim that it started flagging tea-party applications systematically in 2010 because the movement was exploding and groups' applications for exemption were piling up? (That was a lie too, but that was their story.) That's the supposed "nonpolitical" explanation for all this - the tea-party movement was unique in how quickly it rose and how widely it spread and therefore the agency had to look closely to make sure groups weren't violating 501(c)(4) all over the country by meddling in campaigns. If that's the left's preferred narrative for what happened, then why would they think progressive groups were targeted equally or at all? There was, and is, no lefty equivalent of the movement. You can believe that institutional bias against conservatives was at work here or you can believe that tea partiers, due to the movement's size and its interest in primaries, deserved extra scrutiny under the rules against campaigning by "social welfare" groups. The "progressives were targeted too" theory doesn't fit with either. Especially when you remember that the president's own political shop, Organizing for Action, somehow remains a 501(c)(4) in good standing.

Eliana Johnson explained two days ago what the new IRS report really said about progressives being "targeted":

The term "progressive" was flagged in a general warning to agency screeners - one that remained on the list throughout the time in question - that the applications of progressive organizations may not merit 501(c)(3) designation, which prohibits groups from engaging in political activity. That warning, according to an IRS source familiar with the review process, did not prevent first-line screeners from recommending an application be approved.

The same lists, between August 2010 and February 2012, directed screeners by default to send tea-party applications to a special group for further review and for coordination with lawyers in Washington, D.C. "They are different," says the agency source of the designations made for progressive and tea-party groups.

Also, she notes, don't forget that tea partiers weren't flagged exclusively through the term "tea party." The IRS's be-on-the-lookout list metamorphosed to include issues of concern to tea partiers, like paying down the national debt. If the political scrutiny was impartial and evenhanded, where are the BOLOs for groups that, say, oppose entitlement reform or want to raise taxes?

But back to my question up top. Why was Danny Werfel, the new IRS director and Obama political ally, out there on Monday nudging the media to believe that progressives somehow were put through the wringer too? You know why: Because, with politics momentarily consumed with Snowdenmania and Supreme Court rulings, the time is ripe to try to put this scandal to bed. I'm not sold on the idea of a special prosecutor, but if they're going to stoop to this level of obfuscation even now, after they've cleaned house lightly dusted, maybe that's the only way forward.

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