May 11, 2013

IRS - targeting the Tea Party since 2011

Yesterday the scandal - one of a few in the headlines of late - broke. The IRS, an arm of the government, was targeting conservative Tea Party groups leading up to the 2012 election.  While the IRS apologized, it was too late - the election is long over now.   In it's apology the IRS tried to minimize and isolate the scope of the unconscionable infraction. But was that a fair assessment they built into their apology?

Well, there's this:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior Internal Revenue Service officials knew agents were targeting tea party groups as early as 2011, according to a draft of an inspector general's report obtained by The Associated Press that seemingly contradicts public statements by the IRS commissioner.

The IRS apologized Friday for what it acknowledged was "inappropriate" targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status. The agency blamed low-level employees, saying no high-level officials were aware.

But on June 29, 2011, Lois G. Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt organizations, learned at a meeting that groups were being targeted, according to the watchdog's report. At the meeting, she was told that groups with "Tea Party," ''Patriot" or "9/12 Project" in their names were being flagged for additional and often burdensome scrutiny, the report says.

The 9-12 Project is a group started by conservative TV personality Glenn Beck.

Lerner instructed agents to change the criteria for flagging groups "immediately," the report says.
So it seems the answer is "no - the IRS was not fair in their assessment of the problem that they built into their apology.

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