IRS Admits Targeting Tea Party and Patriot Groups in 2012

Organizations that included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status were singled out for additional reviews


We've moved from "It never happened" over to "It happened, but it was only a few low-level employees."

The Internal Revenue Service is apologizing for inappropriately flagging conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.

Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS unit that oversees tax-exempt groups, said organizations that included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status were singled out for additional reviews.

Lerner said the practice, initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati, was wrong and she apologized while speaking at a conference in Washington.

That's a fairly generic statement, but what does additional reviews really mean?

Specifically, the letter cites the feds’ information demands that went “far beyond the appropriate level of inquiry regarding the religious, charitable and/or educational activities of a tax exempt entity. The inquiries are not relevant to these permitted activities. Inquiries extend to organizational policy positions and priorities, personal and political affiliations, and associations of staff, board members and even family members of staff and board members.”

And they included questions like these...

Provide a list of all issues that are important to your organization. Indicate your position regarding each issue.

That's not a review of spending, it's political targeting and intimidation. JFK did it with the IRS and it was more egregious than Watergate, though as usual, the Dems were not held accountable.

Called the "Ideological Organizations Project," the covert Kennedy scheme lasted through the Johnson years into the mid-1960s.

Reached by telephone for an interview, Caplin, who cofounded the Washington law firm Caplin & Drysdale upon leaving the IRS, admitted there was some direction from the administration to look at right-wing groups. But he said he insisted the IRS draw up a list of liberal groups to make sure there was balance.

But Andrew said his research showed the list of liberal groups largely was a cover for strikes against Kennedy's political opponents on the right. He points to an internal IRS report that found "75 percent of the audits completed were of right-wing groups." Furthermore, Andrew argues that the groups were targeted because of their prominence rather than any alleged tax problems. Caplin had written in a memo that "we are not certain any of these organizations or their benefactors are failing to comply with the tax laws." Andrew noted that "both the Birch Society and Robert Welch Inc., moreover, had been examined in 1960 [before Kennedy came to office], but the IRS had been unable to uncover significant problems. They were included for 1961 [quoting the IRS] 'because of widespread interest in the activities of these organizations.'"

The question is what the Obama version of JFK's "Ideological Organizations Project" is called.

Tags: IRS, Tea Party