IRS finally releases list of conservative groups it targeted
The IRS has released a list of Tea Party and other conservative groups that were singled out for excessive scrutiny from 2010 to 2013, when the targeting was made public.
The list includes 426 groups that came in for special attention, including intrusive and inappropriate questions about their activities.
Not all the groups in the list are conservative. But many of the liberal groups were added after the scandal became public, leading to questions about the IRS deliberately adding left-wing organizations to remove the appearance of bias.
The tax agency filed the list last month as part of a court case after a series of federal judges, fed up with what they said was the agency’s stonewalling, ordered it to get a move on. The case is a class-action lawsuit, so the list of names is critical to knowing the scope of those who would have a claim against the IRS.
But even as it answers some questions, the list raises others, including exactly when the targeting stopped, and how broadly the tax agency drew its net when it went after nonprofits for unusual scrutiny.
The government released names of 426 organizations. Another 40 were not released as part of the list because they had already opted out of being part of the class-action suit.
That total is much higher than the 298 groups the IRS‘ inspector general identified back in May 2013, when investigators first revealed the agency had been subjecting applications to long — potentially illegal — delays, and forcing them to answer intrusive questions about their activities. Tea party and conservative groups said they was the target of unusually heavy investigations and longer delays,
Edward D. Greim, the lawyer who’s pursuing the case on behalf of NorCal Tea Party Patriots and other members of the class, said the list also could have ballooned toward the end of the targeting as the IRS, once it knew it was being investigated, snagged more liberal groups in its operations to try to soften perceptions of political bias.
As we have identified in our filings in this case, important questions still exist regarding changes to the IRS‘ case listings that occurred after theIRS learned that the [inspector general] and congressional investigations had begun,” he said. “Based on these changes, which to date remain unexplained, a very real possibility — if not probability — exists that theIRS modified its targeting in light of the investigations, packing its own internal lists of targeted groups to support its preferred narrative, including by adding ideologically diverse groups.”
He said if that did happen, it would have “tainted” the list the IRS has now released.
The IRS declined to comment, saying its filing spoke for itself.
The key, as it always has been, is Lois Lerner and her hyperpartisan efforts to take it upon herself to target groups that put the re-election of President Obama in danger. Or was she just following orders from the White House?
In yet another case, the conservative group Cause of Action has been pursuing the IRS to turn over documents the group believed would show White House officials requesting secret taxpayer information on conservatives.
But in a filing Friday, the IRS said it has conducted a final search and can’t find any evidence that the White House either asked for or received protected information.
Given the lies, stonewalling, and destruction of evidence the IRS has carried out so far, a special prosecutor is called for, and search warrants should be executed on IRS offices. No one believes the IRS when its agents say they can't find any evidence of collusion with the White House.
They have destroyed hard drives, "lost" emails, been uncooperative with Congress, deliberately added liberal groups to the target list to throw off investigators, and lied continuously about how many and which groups were targeted. The most powerful federal agency in government has been used to stifle political dissent. Even if it was just a few managers besotted with ideology carrying out a partisan witch hunt, this is an agency that needs to be thoroughly investigated, and those responsible for this un-American activity need to be thrown in jail.