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- Education of the public by advocacy and lobbying to “make America a better place to live”.
- Statement in the case file critical of how the country is being run.
“By June 2011, the expanded criteria included additional names (Patriots and 9/12 Project) as well as policy positions espoused by organizations in their applications,” the audit states.
The 9/12 Project refers to a group created by radio personality Glenn Beck.
Top IRS officials told auditors the BOLO lists were not influenced by an individual or organization outside the agency. They said only first-line management approved references to the Tea Party and the BOLO listing criteria before it was rolled out.
But it was “insufficient oversight” that allowed the “inappropriate” signaling out of certain groups to go on for so long, the audit notes.
“As a result, inappropriate criteria remained in place for more than 18 months,” according to the TIGTA report, which also notes IRS employees did not consider the “public perception of using politically sensitive criteria when identifying these cases.”
Beyond that, the audit found the employees lacked knowledge of allowed activities under code.
The IRS’ director of Rulings and Agreements, defending the agency’s employees and management, told auditors the fact that the team of tax-exempt specialists worked applications that did not involve the Tea Party, patriots, or 9/12 groups “demonstrated that the IRS was not politically biased in its identification of applications for processing by the team of specialists.”
The inspector general’s response: Sure, but all cases with Tea Party, patriots, or 9/12 in the statistical review were flagged and the applications were forwarded to tax-exempt specialists.
Some applications were delayed more than three years, crossing two election cycles, the report notes. Of 296 total applications screened for further intervention, 160 had been open from 206 to 1,338 calendar days.
The IRS Strategic Plan 2009–2013 has several goals and objectives involving timely interaction with taxpayers, including enforcement of the tax law in a timely manner while minimizing taxpayer burden.
Applications were delayed in part by questions the inspector general deemed “unnecessary.” The audit lists seven questions IRS agents had no business asking applicants
1. The names of donors.
2. A list of all issues that are important to the organization and asks that the organization indicate its position regarding such issues.
3. a) The roles and activities of the audience and participants other than members in the activity and b) the type of conversations and discussions members and participants had during the activity.
4. Whether the officer, director, etc., has run or will run for public office.
5. The political affiliation of the officer, director, speakers, candidates supported, etc., or otherwise refers to the relationship with identified political party–related organizations.
6. Information regarding employment, other than for the organization, including hours worked.
Information regarding activities of another organization -- not just the relationship of the other organization to the applicant