The Democrats and their media handmaidens think they have something here that will help put Obama’s IRS scandal to rest, claiming “progressive” groups were also flagged by the IRS. The key word is flagged, because that’s just about it.
Internal Revenue Service employees used other politically-loaded terms besides “tea party” when they culled applications for tax-exempt status and then subjected them to extra scrutiny — including the words “progressive” and “blue,” according to agency memos.
The lists with key words to watch for, released Monday by congressional Democrats, are the first documents showing that IRS employees were instructed to flag other types of nonprofit groups engaged in politics, not just conservative ones.
“Common thread is the word ‘progressive,'” said “Be on the Lookout” memos sent to workers in the tax-exempt division of the IRS. “Activities appear to lean toward a new political party. Activities are partisan and appear as anti-Republican.”
They were flagged, not targeted. Huge difference.
Camp said in a Monday statement that the IRS review did not provide much clarity on key questions like who started the targeting, and why it continued for so long.
“This culture of political discrimination and intimidation goes far beyond basic management failure, and personnel changes alone won’t fix a broken IRS,” Camp said.
Camp’s office issued another release acknowledging that BOLOs had screened for liberal groups. But the Michigan Republican, who has stressed in recent weeks that the targeting went far beyond what was in the May audit, also said there was no evidence that groups on the left had donors threatened, confidential information leaked or faced the sort of inappropriate questions that conservative groups faced.
“It is one thing to flag a group,” a spokeswoman for Camp said. “It is quite another to repeatedly target and abuse conservative groups.”
The House Oversight chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), added that it was “premature” for Werfel to say that there was “no evidence that anyone at IRS intentionally did anything wrong.”
Yesterday, House Democrats released new IRS documents which, along with a briefing from the new IRS director, managed to get several news outlets to report that “progressive” groups had been targeted by the IRS in much the same way as Tea Party groups. The more accurate reports merely mention that a certain type of “progressive” group applications was mentioned on IRS “be on the lookout lists.”
But if progressive advocacy groups were given the third degree, then you might ask why none of them have come forward. Possibly because the documents in question do not actually say they were systematically targeted. And in fact, probably because the kinds of groups discussed in these documents are of a totally different nature than the Tea Party groups targeted in the recent scandal.
The 14 new IRS documents do mention the term “progressive,” but only in describing applications for the coveted 501 c(3) status, which confers tax deductibility on donations. The documents where the term “progressive” appears (or wasn’t redacted) instruct agents that c(3) status is not appropriate for groups that conduct overtly political activity. Unlike 501 c(4) groups — nearly all of those involved in the Tea Party targeting scandal — 501 c(3) groups are not permitted to engage in political advocacy at all.