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


Really, guys, it's a scandal.

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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