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Sunday, May 12, 2013

IRS Senior Officials knew of tea party targeting

Senior Internal Revenue Service officials knew employees were singling out conservative groups for extra scrutiny as early as 2011, according to a watchdog agency’s report set to be released next week, POLITICO has confirmed from a congressional source.

The disclosure that senior officials knew agents were flagging applications containing the words “patriot” or “tea party” contradicts public statements by former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. He repeatedly denied that his agency was targeting conservative groups when asked by Congress last year.

“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 in March 2012.

The Internal Revenue Service is in the process of confirming when its leadership was informed, according an IRS statement released Saturday.

“IRS senior leadership was not aware of this level of specific details at the time of the March 2012 hearing. The timeline does not contradict the Commissioner’s testimony. While Exempt Organizations officials knew of the situation earlier, the timeline reflects that IRS senior leadership did not have this level of detail,” the statement reads.

The revelation about senior leadership adds fuel to the agency’s admission Friday that at least 75 conservative groups were flagged for extra review because their tax documents contained the words “tea party” or “patriot.”

The disclosures are guaranteed to heighten Republican fears that the agency is targeting the administration’s political enemies and hands the GOP a fresh issue to use in attacking President Barack Obama’s administration.

The congressional source, who was briefed on the report, said the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that senior Washington officials were informed in 2011. The agency is not disputing the timeline included in the report.  (Continues)

Senior IRS officials knew agents were targeting Tea Party groups: report

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