Report: IRS Began Targeting Tea Party in 2010


IRS Scandal , Tea Party

ABC News investigative reporter Jonathan Karl has obtained an advance copy of the forthcoming Internal Revenue Service Inspector General report that reveals the IRS placed a wide array of limited government groups in its crosshairs as early as 2010.

ABC News published a portion of the report dealing with the timeline of events on its website.

The timeline reveals that the IRS Determinations Unit in charge of deciding on tax-exempt statuses “requested its specialists to be on the lookout for Tea Party applications” in July 2010 and had begun searching for Tea Party, Patriots, and 9/12 applications as early as March and April 2010.

In August 2010, the Determinations Unit issued its first “Be On The Lookout” (BOLO) listing for criteria including “…various local organizations in the Tea Party movement” seeking 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) statuses.

On June 29, 2011, a briefing with the director included a briefing paper advising cases that met any of the following criteria should be investigated by a designated team of specialists: “Tea Party”; “Patriots”; “9/12 Project”; issues concerning “government spending, government debt, or taxes”; education of the public to “make America a better place to live”; or “statements in the case file criticize how the country is being run.”

According to Karl, the unit had flagged “over 100 Tea Party-related applications.”

In July 2011, that criteria was changed when the director expressed concerns. Then, in January 2012, the criteria were changed again to “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the constitution and bill of rights, social economic reform/movement.” 

The timeline also indicates that on March 23, 2012 and March 27, 2012, the Senior Technical Adviser to the Acting Commissioner, Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division, and the Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement huddled to discuss “concerns with the media attention the Tea Party applications were receiving.” 

The full Inspector General report is expected to be released sometime this week.


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