Audit shows IRS gave Leftist groups a pass

Progressive groups did not receive the same measure of scrutiny as conservative groups, according to the IRS watchdog.

In a letter released by the House Ways and Means Committee, J. Russell George, the IRS watchdog, told Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) that only six progressive groups were set aside for scrutiny, 30% of the total number of progressive groups that sought tax-exempt status. George noted that 100% of conservative groups were set aside for scrutiny.

“Based on the information you flagged regarding the existence of a ‘Progressives’ entry on BOLO lists, TIGTA performed additional research which determined that six tax-exempt applications filed between May 2010 and May 2012 having the words ‘progress’ or ‘progressive’ in their names were included in the 298 cases the IRS identified as potential political cases,” George explained in response to Levin. “In total, 30 percent of the organizations we identified with the words ‘progress’ or ‘progressive’ in their names were processed as potential political cases.

“In comparison,” wrote George, “our audit found that 100 percent of the tax-exempt applications with Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 in their names were processed as potential political cases during the timeframe of our audit.”

Earlier this week Democrats on Capitol Hill tried to claim that progressive groups were subject to the same scrutiny as conservative groups, which is part of their effort to end the congressional investigations into the matter. Those claims were based on an Associated Press report from earlier in the week showing that progressive groups were scrutinized based on similar term-based criteria as conservative groups. The AP report gave no indication as to how many progressive groups were scrutinized.

Democrats alleged that George had mislead committees investigating IRS’s inappropriate conduct. Levin, the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, asked for more details in response to the AP’s story.

George also refuted the notion that the IRS had a list of terms used to identify progressive groups seeking tax-exempt status, telling Levin that the 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 explained that the term appears on list used by a “different group of specialists than the team of specialists that was processing potential political cases related to the allegations [his office] audited.”

In a statement from the House Ways and Means Committee. Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) said the evidence presented by George confirms that IRS went out of its way to target conservative groups.

“So far, the evidence only shows conservatives being systematically targeted by the IRS, not just flagged through the BOLO, but actually targeted. The IG has confirmed that, and the investigation by the Ways and Means and Oversight and Government Reform Committees also confirms that fact,” said Camp. “Americans deserve better than to fear whether the IRS will unfairly target them. One thing is clear, Congress has a lot more work to do to bring this out of control agency in check and hold them accountable to the American people.”

Many Democrats have dismissed congressional investigations into the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups and have opposed appointing special prosecutor to further look into the matter. A recent Quinnipiac poll found that 76% of Americans want a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS.

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