Via The Washington Times:
More than three years after it admitted to targeting tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny, the IRS has finally released a near-complete list of the organizations it snagged in a political dragnet.
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.
This brings the lowest possible number of groups targeted because of their political beliefs to 466 and no sane person believes the IRS is capable of telling the truth. The left has made hay with the message that liberal groups were also targeted. They were, just not in the way conservative groups were:
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.
This is a significant step because it clearly shows that a wide net was cast by the IRS to harass and intimidate people seeking tax exempt status if they had the wrong politics. This attitude seems to be baked into the IRS. Only a couple of weeks ago, this happened on C-SPAN:
A self-identified IRS employee admitted he would go after, target and try to end conservative groups who wanted to abolish the IRS, to Cleta Mitchell, an attorney representing those groups, on a Washington Journal segment on C-SPAN.
Mitchell, a political law attorney who has represented conservative groups during the IRS targeting scandal since 2010, was a guest on C-SPAN to discuss the possible impeachment of the IRS commissioner John Koskinen.
The first caller was a self-identified IRS employee who said he would go after the groups Mitchell represents if their goal was to abolish the IRS.
“I am a lowly clerk at the IRS, looking at your application for tax-free status,” said the caller, Bill, from Elizabeth, New Jersey. “I go to your web page to see the goals of your group and one of the goals of your group is to abolish the IRS.”
“You can bet every dollar you got I’m going to go after you and target you and try and end your group and that’s just the way it is,” the caller said.
But the final tally is really illustrative of the culture of duplicity and dishonesty endemic in the IRS. When the scandal first broke, the IRS denied that it had even happened. Then in May, 2013, after about two years of denials, the IRS admitted it had targeted conservatives:
The Internal Revenue Service on Friday apologized for targeting groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names, confirming long-standing accusations by some conservatives that their applications for tax-exempt status were being improperly delayed and scrutinized.
During that period, about 75 groups were selected for extra inquiry — including burdensome questionnaires and, in some cases, improper requests for the names of their donors — simply because of the words in their names, she said in a conference call with reporters.
They constituted about one-quarter of the 300 groups who were flagged for additional analysis by employees of the IRS tax-exempt unit’s main office in Cincinnati.
The the IRS IG released a report in July 2013 which stated 292 conservative groups had been targeted with requests for additional information, including 100% of groups with “tea party” or “patriot” or “9/12” in their names. This is a four fold increase of the number the IRS had provided only a few weeks earlier. And IRS scrutiny ran to anyone who appeared on the donor list of targeted groups.
Throughout the regime of Barack Obama, the IRS has demonstrated that it is not an apolitical federal agency dutifully following the law. The IRS sees itself as a political enforcer that is answerable to absolutely no one and it can act without fear because the administration will protect them when their violations of the law are exposed.