Inspector General: No, Really, the IRS Targeting Was Mostly Against Tea Party Groups

Yesterday a report noted that not all screening terms used by the IRS to investigate nonprofit applications targeted tea party or conservative groups. They also used terms like “progressive” and “occupy,” prompting the usual suspects to try to declare the scandal over.

Today, though, a letter from a Treasury Department inspector general makes it clear that the IRS truly and sincerely was focusing on tea party groups. The Hill reports:

Liberal groups seeking tax-exempt status faced less IRS scrutiny than Tea Party groups, according to the Treasury inspector general. 

Russell George, Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration, told Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) in a letter dated Wednesday that the IRS did not use inappropriate criteria to scrutinize groups with “progressives” in their name seeking tax-exempt status.

“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 stressed that 100 percent of the groups with “Tea Party,” “patriots” and “9/12” in their name were flagged for extra attention, while only 30 percent of the groups with “progress” or “progressive” were highlighted as potentially political. George’s letter does not say why the progressive groups were given extra scrutiny.

It’s fascinating that the Obama Administration and various government officials have made it clear that they understand that this scandal is real and that very inappropriate things happened (even if they keep trying to pass the buck on responsibility). It’s the supporters of the administration from the outside (and Congress) who are having a tough time accepting it.

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  • RBS||

    OT: Man, can Yahoo! bring the retard.

  • Brett L||

    Its either a fish, or a number 6 for Stan Musial. Why would they draw a Jesus symbol when number 6 is who they worship?

  • ||

    Good for him, really, but the St. Louis Cardinals might be getting carried away with the "Saint" in St. Louis. (Hey, and maybe the "Cardinals" part, too, now that you mention it.) Religious references are not uncommon in a heavily Catholic city like St. Louis, but you won't (or shouldn't) find the cross on, say, the Arch. Of course, that's public land. Busch Stadium might be privately owned, but it didn't get built without tax breaks. Legally, as Vines points out, that gives the public "skin in the game." And not everybody in the public is a Christian like Adam Wainwright and Mike Matheny.
    Hypothetically going beyond the legal boundaries of church and state, it's awfully presumptuous and ignorant of the Cardinals to draw any religious symbol on the mound. It's not really their mound, or anybody's mound, after all. Jews use that mound. Muslims (might) use that mound. Hindus and Sikhs. Hypothetically, Zoroastrians would use that mound. Diests use that mound. People with no god use that mound. Should the Cardinals really have to be reminded that not everyone is their religion?

    Yes, it is their fucking mound you moron. If any pitcher doesn't want to get paid a lot of money to throw of that mound they can sit out the game.

    Roads are publicly subsidized too and yet we let people stand on the side with Jesus Saves signs.

  • ||

    I don't know what the fuss is about opposing pitchers. If they don't like it, they can easily kick it out of the dirt, and then the Cards pitcher who comes up next can draw it right back in. No harm no foul.

  • ||

    Unless you really hate the team you are pitching against it is considered bad etiquette to do something like that to another team's mound.

    I can guarantee you no Major League pitcher gives a damn about the cross in the dirt.

  • ||

    Yeah, I mean, we are just talking about lines drawn in the dirt here, right? How is this seriously a thing?

  • John||

    Because some people are nuts. They are fanatics. The only way this matters is if your goal is to prohibit any expression of religion in public

  • John||

    No it is not their mound. Not according to liberals. To the liberals the collective owns everything.

    And make no mistake about it. Religion is a threat to the state. And the state is "everything". So when they say "separation of church and state" to a liberal that means a total ban on all religion in any public place.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Historically, the US and the Netherlands are unique in their interpretation of "separation between church and state". Almost every other country in Europe, as well as in Latin America, followed up their supposed secularization with brutal attacks against clergy members and active laity.

  • John||

    To liberals, no. That would be a feature not a bug.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Next up people will want to completely ban all MLB players from ever thanking g-d or even mentioning anything religious...

    Afterall, while this may "seem" to violate free speech, the separation of church and state is sacrosanct and the fact that MLB has a "monopoly" necessitates additional governmental control, including ensuring that the government's seal of approval (by allowing "monopoly") doesn't imply any religious belief.

    /sarc

  • db||

    To even things out, perhaps they should draw a likeness of Muhammad in the dirt of the mound for people to step on.

  • Pro Libertate||

    In the subject line, did it say, "Nice try"?

  • ||

    It’s the supporters of the administration from the outside (and Congress) who are having a tough time accepting it.

    Uh, they're not having a tough time "accepting" it. They're having a tough time sweeping it under the rug is all. They know it happened, and they approve, they just want to prevent a public backlash. Let's not forget the partisan scum we're talking about here. They're more venal than you can possibly imagine.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Given the scope of this and all the unusual contact between the IRS and the president, I'm pretty sure this is going to end with some major heads rolling. Whether it gets to impeachment depends on what the inevitable special prosecutor decides to offer to those underlings who clearly committed ethical and criminal violations.

  • John||

    My favorite spin on this is from Tony and Shreek. You see it didn't matter that the head of the IRS went to the White House 178 times since most of those visits were to the OELB and not the White House. Going to the office building next door that houses the people who work for the White House but can't be accommodated in the White House itself makes the visits totally innocent.

  • RBS||

    Yeah, that's some first class mental gymnastics.

  • Pro Libertate||

    The OEOB has a tunnel to the White House, you know.

  • John||

    Yeah. If you work there, you work at the White House. It just mean you are not important enough to work in the West Wing. It is not like GSA or NASA has offices there.

  • RBS||

    special prosecutor

    I'm available.

  • ||

    I doubt it will get to impeachment. What the political class has learned with Clinton is that it could be any of them porking an intern or doing something illegal, and though they would love to stick it to the other TEAM, they realize that the next time might be them or their TEAM, so there is a natural inclination to not go after each other whole hog, as the favor will be returned later. After all, they may be on different TEAMs, but they're still all better than us and need to stick together.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Me, too, though if Leeloo Multiscandal keeps going, it may come to that or a forced resignation. The latter seems even more unlikely, as I think Obama would try to stick it out if he were caught murdering tourists who toured the White House.

  • Sevo||

    ..."Obama would try to stick it out if he were caught murdering tourists who toured the White House."

    And the 'bots would say those people deserved it!

  • Pro Libertate||

    In all seriousness, I think we're not quite there yet, but we're far closer than I ever thought possible.

  • fried wylie||

    Look, you cross the ropes then you definitely deserve a death sentence.

  • Ted S.||

    I thought there weren't any more White House tours thanks to the sequester.

    Who knew it was really a means to prevent Obama from committing murder?

  • Finrod||

    I have nothing to add here, I'm just completely enjoying the name 'Leeloo Multiscandal'.

  • John||

    "Tough time accepting" it is an interesting way of saying "don't give a fuck and are lying at every turn to ensure the story goes nowhere".

  • Jordan||

    Now Shreeeeeeek has a sad.

  • RBS||

    No, it is impervious to facts.

  • Tonio||

    Publicly, it's impervious to the facts. It's going to be even more bitey and poo flingy than normal. Distract, distract, distract.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, it's distressing how much time is spent on rights that aren't a threat to the government. Gays marrying is no threat at all. Free speech and privacy rights, on the other hand, are.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    It’s fascinating that the Obama Administration and various government officials have made it clear that they understand that this scandal is real and that very inappropriate things happened (even if they keep trying to pass the buck on responsibility). It’s the supporters of the administration from the outside (and Congress) who are having a tough time accepting it.

    They have a tough time accepting that their Chosen One is more of a scumbag that Nixon because the IRS actually told Nixon "no."

  • John||

    There is no scandal here. But Lois Lerhner took the 5th. If there is no scandal, what crime did she commit?

  • tarran||

    She didn't commit a crime John! She said she didn't! She took the fifth to deny other people a chance to twist her words to make it look like bad things happened!

  • Pro Libertate||

    No, see, she is pleading the Fifth because those nasty Republicans might take her words and twist them.

  • John||

    And she said she did nothing wrong. Now from some criminal that would mean they waived their rights since you can't invoke after you get your side of the story out. But since she is a noble public servant in front of evil Rethugicans, that is totally okay.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think maybe she did waive her rights, because she listed what she was charged with then, essentially, denied her guilt of those charges. I'm no expert, but I thought you couldn't do that.

    The argument against is that she didn't actually talk about the facts. Reading what she said, she kinda did, just not in detail.

    Not sure what the right answer is, especially in a congressional forum.

  • Sevo||

    I'm pretty sure she's going to have the opportunity to 'clear here name' on this issue.

  • John||

    I have never dealt with a case of partial invocation. My clients either invoked or spilled their guts. But my understanding has always been after you have been appraised of your rights, once you start answering questions you can open the door to waiving your privilege.

    There is a difference between "custodial interrogation" and testimony before a court. Because of the coercive nature of custodial interrogation, you can stop the questioning at any time. But in court you can't. In court, you can shoot off your mouth and waive your privilege.

    If you could, then the accused could avoid cross examination by simply testifying under direct and then invoking the 5th Amendment rights during cross examination. You can't do that. You can stay silent. But once you start talking it is game on.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Are we still talking about this so-called "scandal"? I'm sure a Team Redder out there said something retarded about gay marriage yesterday. Now that's news!

  • Tonio||

    Could everyone please stop using the word "retarded" as an epithet?

  • Ted S.||

    Your comment is so gay. ;-)

  • db||

    Jew think so?

  • fried wylie||

    How would you prefer we identify people who behave as thought they're mentally disabled despite lacking a medical diagnosis as such?

  • wwhorton||

    Well, classically, "stupid" has worked fairly well.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Anybody with any sense can see the IRS would view avowedly anti-tax political organizations as an existential threat, whereas organizations advocating for larger federal budgets and authority would ultimately be allies.

  • Tonio||

    Yes, but the IRS would have to be pretty dumb to realize that those anti-tax political organizations would just roll over and take the unequal treatment.

  • John||

    And of course this is just the random misconduct by a few rogue employees. It is just an amazing coincidence that it started in the Cincinnati office. You know, the one in Ohio, that swing state everyone said Obama had to win if he was going to win re-election.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Hadn't thought of that.

  • PapayaSF||

    Eh, I think that is just a coincidence, because that office is where they deal with non-profits, IIRC.

  • John||

    All of them were dealt with in a single field office? If so, then yes.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Papaya is right. The exempt organizations unit is headquartered in Cinn City and determinations are all made from that office. Whatever conspiracies exist in this story, there is no Ohio/electoral conspiracy here.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Is it just me, or is the president's attempt to get everyone to kung-fu fight over AGW instead of the scandals flopping completely?

  • John||

    I think it is. The down side of that is that he is going to be able to do a lot of damage without people noticing.

  • tarran||

    It is....

    Look at how miserably Markey's climate change bill died in the Senate. If the CAGW cult had the political clout to pull off major policy changes over organized opposition, Markey's bill would be actively in play.

  • Tonio||

    ^This.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Not too surprising. It consistently comes in at the bottom of people's priorities. Unfortunately there is a lot he can do unilaterally to make energy a lot more expensive.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Sure, but I seriously doubt this is about the issue itself. It's 100% to distract us from the crap that's going on. Otherwise, he'd have done this five years ago.

  • Tonio||

    Yep.

  • PapayaSF||

    50% distraction, 50% rally the demoralized base. "OK, we have been spying on everyone like we said we wouldn't, worse than Bush and Nixon, but at least we are doing something the save the Earth, unlike Team Red!"

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Oh, there's no doubt that the "big speech" and all that was designed to get the base out of their scandal doldrums. But I think he absolutely intends to follow through, and was going to anyway without the fanfare.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    "without the fanfare"?


    & by citation, name one piece of legislation which Obama has wanted and changed existing policies/laws/ideas to more liberal ideas that Obama pushed forward "without fanfare".

    As while he may have wanted this - it seems the timing isn't the only reason he's talking.

    It appears that he is also talking because it's all he's really good at (not off the cuff of course).

    He's been in campaign mode since 2006, with the exception of brief periods of downtime like right after his election.

    For instance, after defeating Romney, they took a short break, but moved back into campaign mode before his transition team started working with the Bush administration.

  • fried wylie||

    Unfortunately there is a lot he can do unilaterally to make energy a lot more expensive.

    Circa 2000, I had 6-8 computers running (including an 800Watt Octane), multiple brightly lit fishtanks, and an indoor cactus garden.

    Today, I have one computer, and I live by a 10watt room-light. AND THE FUCKING ELECTRICITY BILL IS STILL INSANE.

    So fuck whatever Obama does, the damage is done.

  • fried wylie||

    (man that Octane could crunch some Seti@home units....)

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Given the scope of this and all the unusual contact between the IRS and the president, I'm pretty sure this is going to end with some major heads rolling
    sternly worded memos in some mid-level bureaucrats' personnel files.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It might have but for the administration's brilliant attempt to piss off the media at the same time.

  • ||

    One has to wonder where all this would be if Obama wasn't such a moron that he spied on the media that licks his ass. How stupid is his administration? I mean, they qualify as retarded, don't they?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, and I think we need to name a guardian for them.

  • ||

    I'd pretend to be a tard also, if it meant I got to keep my crip parking pass. That bastard is so convenient.

  • ||

    Why would you need to pretend, JJ?

  • Tonio||

    Perhaps the administration didn't trust the media, and feared they were going to turn against him. Funny how self-fulfilling prophecies work, eh?

  • John||

    It is a case of one arm not knowing what the other one is doing. Also, they spied on a guy from Fox News. I honestly think they thought the media wouldn't care about that.

    DOJ is pretty much a rogue organization. I seriously doubt they gave any thought to it. They accused the Fox guy of being a accomplice because that was the magic language they needed to get the warrant. I would bet dollars to doughnuts that they cut and pasted that language from another document without even thinking about it.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    They also used terms like “progressive” and “occupy”

    For expedited processing, yeah?

  • John||

    You have to give this scandal credit. It has really shown the horrible underbelly of government. If there is a villain more out of central casting than Lois Lerner I have yet to see them. My favorite though is the contractor guy who got injured 27 years ago at an academy prep school, left the school, went on to play college football, and then 25 years later used the injury to get "disabled veteran's status" and a preference for government contracts.

  • PapayaSF||

    Just read about that. Then he gets $500 million in contracts, and the IRS guy involved takes the Fifth. This scandal just keeps getting better and better.

  • John||

    The IRS guy involved was apparently one of his cronies. That is some brazen shit there. And what kind of a fucking scumbag do you have to be to fake a veterans' disability?

  • PapayaSF||

    All these racial and other preferences are a strong lure. Look at Elizabeth Warren.

  • John||

    I know. I have half siblings who are 1/4 Cherokee but are not on the rolls. Like many people of mixed blood, their family in the 20s was ashamed of the heritage and didn't get on the rolls. They thus have never gotten a single benefit.

    I went off on a liberal friend of mine about how offensive it was for Warren who had no heritage to take those benefits when there are thousands of people like my siblings who really do have it but due to the closing of the rolls will never get any benefit from it. A lot of indigent mumbling ensued. It was great.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    A lot of indigent mumbling ensued

    The bums didn't like that, huh?

  • Michael S. Langston||

    John - the reason why it's tough to qualify for Native-American benefits is the difficulty in proving heritage.

    However, there are companies which may help them for free. They try to help other companies find, not just American Indian tax credits, but others like welfare to work... from what I understand (though it was years ago and they were tangential to me) - due to this. They actively help individuals for free in some cases.

    Might be worth a look

  • db||

    Can I get a link? I'm sure I could find it prominently displayed on MSNBC or CNN but I'm lazy.

  • John||

    http://dailycaller.com/2013/06.....ity-claim/

    Some Congress woman who is an Iraq war vet and a double amputee just destroyed him. Classic.

  • wwhorton||

    I heard the exchange on C-SPAN. It was such a legendary verbal ass whoopin' that it can actually function as its own metaphor.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Oops.

    ...end with some major heads rolling
    sternly worded memos in some mid-level bureaucrats' personnel files.

  • John||

    And some paid vacations.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Just try to imagine how horrible this would be if the IRS had outsourced the work!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    they qualify as retarded, don't they?

    There's a special tax status for that, isn't there?

  • Caleb Turberville||

    As long as the Progressive groups generate some sorta flow of monies, I would expect at least some harassment from the IRS. They'll eat their own. The question is "Did it come anywhere the level of scrutiny directed towards Tea Party/Conservative groups?" If not, then we still have a crisis on our hands.

  • PapayaSF||

    Heck, look Obama's skeezy half-brother got an OK for his tax-exempt "foundation" in a month, despite a lack of evidence of any appropriate activity, and his connections with Islamic terrorists in Sudan. He even got a retroactive OK for years of illegal fundraising.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Not to mention his former campaign organization turned 501(c)(4), which still runs Obama's Twitter account. No holdup in their application, even though that's as partisan as you could possibly get.

  • PapayaSF||

    Oh yeah, it's really rich that they were giving anal probes to Tea Party groups that *might* endorse a candidate, but a group that had endorsing a candidate as its primary purpose? No problem!

  • Marc F Cheney||

    The inspector general stressed that 100 percent of the groups with “Tea Party,” “patriots” and “9/12” in their name were flagged for extra attention, while only 30 percent of the groups with “progress” or “progressive” were highlighted as potentially political. George’s letter does not say why the progressive groups were given extra scrutiny.

    What percentage of all groups were flagged for extra attention? What percentage of all groups were highlighted as potentially political? Was it more or less than 30%? Are potentially political groups always flagged for extra attention?

    Obviously, 100% 30%, but I can't tell whether 30% is excessive.

  • The Last American Hero||

    One thing to bear in mind with this scandal is that IRS approval isn't needed for 501c4's to start doing their work. It's different from a C3 in that regard. There may be and probably is a serious scandal when it comes to using the power of the IRS to go after political opponents, but it didn't prevent the Patriot C4's from performing their social purpose or engaging in political activities.

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