From the very beginning Republicans have been refuting the Democrats’ claim that the IRS targeted leftist groups as well as conservatives. Speaking of scrutiny, let’s see if that claim holds up to a little extra scrutiny. I promise, it will not be as intrusive as the IRS scrutiny of Tea Party and other conservative groups. Acting IRS commissioner, Danny Werfel is facing questions from House members regarding his plan to rectify the IRS scandal, as well as where he received the basis to side with the Democrats’ unsubstantiated attempt to depict the IRS targeting as equal, rather than the arbitrary targeting that it truly was. Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on Ways and Means wrote in a letter to the Treasury Department’s Inspector general, J. Russell George:
There is increasing evidence that the May 14, 2013, audit was fundamentally flawed and that your handling of it has failed to meet the necessary test of objectivity and forthrightness.
Rebuffing that ridiculous charge, the Treasury Department’s inspector general has revealed that 292 – which is 100% – of Tea Party groups seeking special tax status were put under IRS review, while just six progressive groups were targeted. Perhaps the disproportionate amount of conservative groups applying for special tax status compared to so-called “progressive” groups is to blame for these numbers? No, not at all. The letter from the Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed that there just weren’t many progressive groups who even sought special tax exempt status. A total of 20 sought it, and six were probed. All 292 Tea Party groups, however, were targeted as part of the IRS witchhunt. Despite the state-run liberal media’s attempt to add this to the narrative in the IRS scandal, Mr. George did not mishandle the report or conduct the investigation in a “fundamentally flawed” manner at all. In his letter, he wrote:
Based on the information you flagged regarding the existence of a ‘Progressives’ entry on BOLO lists, TIGTA performed additional research which determined that six tax-exempt applications filed between May 2010 and May 2012 having the words ‘progress’ or ‘progressive’ in their names were included in the 298 cases the IRS identified as potential political cases. We also determined that 14 tax-exempt applications filed between May 2010 and May 2012 using the words ‘progress’ or ‘progressive’ in their names were not referred for added scrutiny as potential political cases. In total, 30 percent of the organizations we identified with the words ‘progress’ or “progressive” in their names were processed as potential political cases. In comparison, our audit found that 100 percent of the tax-exempt applications with Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 in their names were processed as potential political cases during the timeframe of our audit.
We know that the IRS targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups handicapped enough GOTV efforts to reelect President Obama, but to now pretend that the level of scrutiny was equal between the two groups is not only misleading, it is just false. It appears that Werfel’s complacency has proven that he, unfortunately, was appointed to simply bail out the Obama administration and the IRS agency itself.