American dislike of the Internal Revenue Service transcends political affiliation, but that may intensify amongst conservatives after this most recent mess-up concerning non-profit groups. It seems that the IRS singled-out seventy-five tax-exempt groups for further review, which had the words “tea party or patriot”, listed in their paperwork. In a statement, the IRS said, “mistakes were made initially, but they were in no way due to any political or partisan rationale.”
Are you kidding me? One or two groups, an accident maybe, but seventy-five – that’s got to be intentional. The other defense the IRS could – and seems to be employing – is the fact that they can’t crunch numbers well. The Washington Free Beacon reported that a senior IRS official has confessed, “ I’m not good at math.” On the other hand, Republicans are not free from blame concerning this fiasco, given how the head of the IRS is a Bush appointee.
The Associated Press reported today that:
IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman told Congress in March 2012 that the IRS was not targeting groups based on their political views.
"There's absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back and forth that happens to people" who apply for tax-exempt status, Shulman told a House Ways and Means subcommittee.
Shulman was appointed by President George W. Bush. His 6-year term ended in November. President Barack Obama has yet to nominate a successor. The agency is now being run by acting Commissioner Steven Miller.
There had been an influx of tea party groups applying for tax-exempt 501 (c) (4) status in 2012, which caused the IRS to centralize operations in Cincinnati – and:
As part of the review, staffers look for signs that groups are participating in political activity. If so, IRS agents take a closer look to make sure that politics isn't the group's primary activity, [Lois] Lerner [IRS division head of tax-exempt groups] said.
As part of this process, agents in Cincinnati came up with a list of things to look for in an application. As part of the list, they included the words, "tea party" and "patriot," Lerner said.
"It's the line people that did it without talking to managers," Lerner. "They're IRS workers, they're revenue agents."
In the end, 150 of the 300 cases have been closed, none of the groups lost their status, but some withdrew their applications.