IRS Releases List of Tea Party Groups Targeted for Extra Scrutiny
According to the Washington Times, the IRS has released a "near complete" list of groups it singled out for extra scrutiny three years ago in a much-publicized political dragnet.
The list was finally produced after the IRS was bench-slapped by several judges over its perceived "stonewalling." The agency is the target of a class-action lawsuit by groups believed to be victimized by the IRS actions.
The number of organizations revealed in the IRS list is notably smaller than the number originally released by the IRS inspector general. The government released the names of 426 organizations and an additional 40 were removed from the list since they have opted out 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.
Lawyer Edward D. Greim said the list may have added some liberal targets as it came to light the agency was being investigated for singling out suspected right-wing groups. “As we have identified in our filings in this case, important questions still exist regarding changes to the IRS' case listings that occurred after the IRS 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 the IRS 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.”
On the list there are 60 groups with the word "tea" in their names, 33 with "patriot," eight that refer to the Constitution and 13 groups with "912" in their name. Additionally, 26 groups refer to liberty.
Three groups contain the word "occupy" in their name.
Current IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was brought in to "fix" the problems at the IRS, but some GOP congressmen disagree and claim Koskinen continued to mislead them during an investigation.
On Friday, the IRS filed papers claiming they had conducted a search and cannot find any evidence the White House received any protected information about tax payers from the agency.