IRS still targeting Tea Party groups?
The charge is based on congressional testimony from an unnamed IRS agent responsible for reviewing tax exempt applications.
Three months after the scandal broke and the brain dead IRS managers still don't get it.
In a remarkable admission that is likely to rock the Internal Revenue Service again, testimony released Thursday by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp reveals that an agent involved in reviewing tax exempt applications from conservative groups told a committee investigator that the agency is still targeting Tea Party groups, three months after the IRS scandal erupted.
In closed door testimony before the House Ways & Means Committee, the unidentified IRS agent said requests for special tax status from Tea Party groups is being forced into a special "secondary screening" because the agency has yet to come up with new guidance on how to judge the tax status of the groups.
In a redacted transcript from the committee provided to Secrets, a Ways & Means investigator asked: "If you saw -- I am asking this currently, if today if a Tea Party case, a group -- a case from a Tea Party group came in to your desk, you reviewed the file and there was no evidence of political activity, would you potentially approve that case? Is that something you would do?"
The agent said, "At this point I would send it to secondary screening, political advocacy."
The committee staffer then said, "So you would treat a Tea Party group as a political advocacy case even if there was no evidence of political activity on the application. Is that right?" The agent admitted, "Based on my current manager's direction, uh-huh."
Camp called the renewed targeting of Tea Party groups "outrageous."
Added a committee aide, "In plain English, the IRS is still targeting Tea Party cases."
I'd like to know if they are also setting aside all liberal groups' applications and not just some of them. If they aren't, then we have a reading comprehension problem among top IRS managers in Washington that can only be fixed by firing the lot of them. If they are indeed setting aside all liberal groups' applications as well, then one can hardly claim that conservatives alone are being "targeted."
But there appears to be a question of incompetent management as well:
When the scandal erupted after a Treasury Department inspector general revealed the improper political scrutiny, the acting head of the IRS, Danny Werfel, said the BOLO list had been suspended. That was six weeks ago.
But because there is nothing in its place, agents apparently either don't know how to handle Tea Party tax exempt applications, or are too scared to make a decision.
Asked by the committee how it handles Tea Party applications, the agent said, "If a political advocacy case came in today, I would give it -- or talk about it to my manager because right now we really don't have any direction or we haven't had any for the last month and a half."
As Rep. Camp said: "Outrageous."