Uh oh: New IRS chief says inappropriate screening of tax-exempt groups was broader, and lasted longer, than thought

posted at 7:01 pm on June 24, 2013 by Allahpundit

A key point, though: He doesn’t say whether it was limited to conservative groups.

In a conference call with reporters, Danny Werfel said that after becoming acting IRS chief last month, he discovered wide-ranging and improper terms on lists screeners were still using to choose groups for careful examinations. He did not specify what terms were on the lists, but said he suspended the use of all such lists immediately.

“There was a wide-ranging set of categories and cases that spanned a broad spectrum” on the lists, Werfel said. He added that his aides found those lists contained “inappropriate criteria that was in use.”…

His comments also indicate that the use of inappropriate terms on such lists lasted longer than has been revealed previously. A report last month by a Treasury Department inspector general said agency officials abolished targeting of conservative groups with those lists in May 2012.

The ACLJ, which has been helping tea-party groups fight the IRS on this, claimed weeks ago that its clients were getting overly intrusive questions from the tax-exempt division long after May 2012. I can’t tell what Werfel means by “broad spectrum” and “wide-ranging,” though. Is he hinting that maybe liberal groups were flagged too? Hard to believe we wouldn’t have heard about that ages ago per one of those “helpful leaks” that the White House has become famous for, as a way to kill off the idea that the agency sought to please a Democratic administration only by targeting its political enemies. But maybe O figured that antagonizing the left by revealing that some of their groups were flagged too would only double his political problem, especially if it turned out — as I’d bet it would — that there was far more scrutiny of tea-party groups than their progressive counterparts. Then he’s got the worst of both worlds, with his base annoyed at him and perceptions still lingering that this was aimed mainly at the out-party.

Werfel claims that they’ve found no evidence of intentional wrongdoing. But:

But because of the management problems, Werfel said, the IRS has installed new officials across the board at positions overseeing tax-exempt applications – including at the spots once held by Lois Lerner and Holly Paz, two staffers at the center of the investigation so far.

“Based on the evidence that we have to date,” said Werfel. “We believe that these individuals should no longer hold a position of trust in IRS.”

They’re not wrongdoers, they’re just … problematic as figureheads for the tax-exempt division going forward. Actually, the real news to come out of today’s conference call may be Werfel revealing that the IRS will now allow 501(c)(4) groups to “self-certify” if they haven’t gotten a determination from the agency within 120 days. That’s an odd result to come from a clusterfark that started, allegedly, because the IRS feared 501(c)(4) orgs were violating the rules against intervening in political campaigns and wanted to take a harder look at them. But maybe it makes sense, the same way it makes sense to let taxpayers file a 1040-EZ if their tax liability was extremely low. The way this will work in practice, I take it, is that big-money 501(c)(4) groups will get immediate scrutiny from the agency and penny-ante grassroots activist groups will receive lower priority, essentially being placed on the honor system not to cross the line politically if they don’t get a review within four months. In other words, in all likelihood, the new watch lists won’t focus on keywords like “patriot” or “tea party” but on the amount of money received each year. That would be a rare move towards common sense.

Update: Congressional sources who’ve seen the new IRS report tell CNN yes, progressives were targeted too:

The IRS targeted liberal groups as well as conservatives for extra scrutiny in tax exempt applications, using the term “progressive” among other liberal sounding terms to screen for groups engaged in political activity, multiple congressional sources tell CNN.

The revelation that “progressives” were targeted like “tea party” groups came after the IRS delivered more than 20 “Be on the lookout memos” known as BOLOS to congressional committees in conjunction with the IRS internal review of the controversial practice released Monday.

“Screening” is one thing, delaying approval and asking intrusive questions is another. What percentage of progressive groups were obstructed compared to the percentage of tea-party groups that were? Like I said up top, finding out that a few progressive groups were flagged vis-a-vis many conservative groups doesn’t solve Obama’s political problem here.


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“Israel,” ”Progressive” and “Occupy”?? SUDDENLY? There’s a hefty dose of bull$hit for ya.

james hooker on June 24, 2013 at 7:04 PM

Saw a report from al-AP that they also used the word “Israel” as a “dog whistle” for their searches. Also “Occupy”.

Claude Rains could not be reached for comment.

Del Dolemonte on June 24, 2013 at 7:04 PM

D.O.J. will get right on it.

listens2glenn on June 24, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Like I said up top, finding out that a few progressive groups were flagged vis-a-vis many conservative groups doesn’t solve Obama’s political problem here.

It solves it for the media, though.

BKeyser on June 24, 2013 at 7:06 PM

: Congressional sources who’ve seen the new IRS report tell CNN yes, progressives were targeted too:

Do you think that Obama is Awesome?

In three words or less, can you tell us how you feel about Gov. Palin?

Electrongod on June 24, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Flashback:

IRONY ALERT: Occupy Wall St Gets Tax Exempt Status

http://nation.foxnews.com/wall-street-protests/2011/10/30/irony-alert-occupy-wall-st-gets-tax-exempt-status

Fallon on June 24, 2013 at 7:07 PM

Update: Congressional sources who’ve seen the new IRS report tell CNN yes, progressives were targeted too:

What ‘progressive’ groups? Groups that were critical to Obama? There are some, and that they do not tell us what groups were targeted makes me wonder why? Do they in fact even exist?

sharrukin on June 24, 2013 at 7:08 PM

Aside from the deficiencies noted, this says nothing about who or how confidential tax and donor information got leaked to progressive supporters of the One. This looks like a can of whitewash to me.

James Moriarty on June 24, 2013 at 7:10 PM

So the Islamic Retribution Service gets to keep it’s $ 70 Mil in bonuses , right ?

burrata on June 24, 2013 at 7:11 PM

There was no wrongdoing, really – we’re just not good with math… or information… and maybe some other stuff, but we’ll do a heckuva job with Obamacare – promise!

– IRS

ghostwalker1 on June 24, 2013 at 7:14 PM

Congressional sources who’ve seen the new IRS report tell CNN yes, progressives were targeted too:

And those Congressional sources would be who and we should believe tham why exactly ?

burrata on June 24, 2013 at 7:14 PM

Were the “progressive” groups asked about the content of their prayers?

Fabozz on June 24, 2013 at 7:15 PM

This investigation needs to be done by a truly independent investigator…select committee would be my choice. I don’t believe this guy can assure the public that the IRS wasn’t used to suppress votes during the reign of Dear Leader…

d1carter on June 24, 2013 at 7:19 PM

“Screening” is one thing, delaying approval and asking intrusive questions is another. What percentage of progressive groups were obstructed compared to the percentage of tea-party groups that were? Like I said up top, finding out that a few progressive groups were flagged vis-a-vis many conservative groups doesn’t solve Obama’s political problem here.

The left will declare it over, just because of this.

However, the IRS/with NSA enabled obama’s re-elect, like Putin and Chavez. This is the biggest untold scandal, of yet…unfolding in front of our eyes.

Snowden might have done things the wrong way but in his weird way might be enlightening a world about thugs, beg. with obama.

That China and Russia lecture the eunuchy obama, just because they can/he enabled them is the height of irony and the highest shame of the land. obama killed the last shred of decency and moral authority the USA possessed.

Schadenfreude on June 24, 2013 at 7:20 PM

Again, why was the Tea Party so quiet?
/

CW on June 24, 2013 at 7:20 PM

Does Congressional sources have anything to do with Elijah Cummings…?

d1carter on June 24, 2013 at 7:20 PM

President Asterisk

Schadenfreude on June 24, 2013 at 7:21 PM

Here comes the whitewashing.

p0s3r on June 24, 2013 at 7:21 PM

Again, why was the Tea Party so quiet?
/

CW on June 24, 2013 at 7:20 PM

All throughout the phase after 2010…

Schadenfreude on June 24, 2013 at 7:22 PM

Why this?…from the queen of immigration bills in AZ, the one who couldn’t shut up railing against obama, until that tarmac ‘hug’.

Schadenfreude on June 24, 2013 at 7:23 PM

LEFT WING GROUPS WERE EXTRA SPECIAL SCREENED! WE PINKY PROMISE!!! Which ones? Well, it’s an ongoing investigation, so I can’t really comment.

txhsmom on June 24, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Here comes the whitewashing.

p0s3r on June 24, 2013 at 7:21 PM

You racist, you.

Schadenfreude on June 24, 2013 at 7:23 PM

So, Mr. Werfel….

Who is going to be fired, and indicted?

Until you’re prepared to answer those questions,
you’re just blowing so much smoke up our backsides.

Another Drew on June 24, 2013 at 7:26 PM

The IRS is trying to spin us to think they weren’t targeting mainly Constitutional conservatives.

I ain’t buying . . . and I still want people in prison for this.

WannabeAnglican on June 24, 2013 at 7:26 PM

What should have been our first clue, was all the Progressive groups that lined up to testify before Congress, that they too were being targeted. Wait, what? No Progressive groups came forward to make such a claim?
But the IRS is saying they were targeted too? Targeted like – “expedite these requests” – targeted. Or targeted like “scrutinize the hell out of these folks”?

Hill60 on June 24, 2013 at 7:27 PM

“Israel,” ”Progressive” and “Occupy”

All groups that have, at various times, been critical of Obama to varying extents.

They were probably screened to make sure they were the right kind of groups and not the kinds that would be critical of obama — that seems to be the pattern.

Timin203 on June 24, 2013 at 7:27 PM

Isn’t this like a trick question? No progressive group would apply for tax exempt status. They would all want to pay their fair share.

rw on June 24, 2013 at 7:28 PM

“Who is going to jail” — Boehner

Schadenfreude on June 24, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Uh huh. Sure. So we’re supposed to believe the word of the IRS and Congressional sources, all of whom I’m certain are sympathetic toward the Tea Party and would never lie in order to cover their own asses. And despite this scandal breaking months ago(through a planted question no less), there have been no left-wing groups to come forward and claim similar treatment by the IRS. Hell, they can’t even find someone to lie that they were unfairly targeted.

It’s obvious they want this to go away and this is a desperate attempt to make that happen. Ain’t gonna work.

Doughboy on June 24, 2013 at 7:31 PM

It’s classic undercover tactics, when gathering information on a business or businesses you suspect may be mob fronts, to “canvass” dozens of others to conceal the fact that yo are interested in those two or three specific ones.

The IRS, which does investigations like this for a living,would logically use the same procedure to conceal their attacks on conservative groups, by making it look like it was a standard operational procedure.

They aren’t stupid. They knew this would come out sooner or later, and so they took precautions.

Congress is happy, the LSM is ecstatic, and the One gets to stick His thumb in the collective eye of all those nasty Tea Partiers.

And the IRS is soon back in business at the same old stand.

The Russians call this sort of misdirection “wolf meat”. Don’t swallow it.

clear ether

eon

eon on June 24, 2013 at 7:32 PM

And yet the lsm will focus on the few libs that were screened

cmsinaz on June 24, 2013 at 7:39 PM

The “progressive” groups were screened and flagged for fast track approval……how much ya wanna bet??

dddave on June 24, 2013 at 7:41 PM

For me the question is, if “progressive” groups were also being scrutinized, then why weren’t any of them complaining about it? Perhaps because their “screening” never resulted in any delays in realizing their tax-exempt status?

I mean, you can “screen” people, and then you can screen them. It’s like Joe the Conservative and Bob the Progressive going through the TSA screening: Joe gets strip-searched, interrogated, X-rayed, cavity-searched, and ends up missing his flight.

Bob walks right through with a nod and a “… Oh, it’s you, Bob! No problem!”

Both were subject to “screening,” yes?

Spurius Ligustinus on June 24, 2013 at 7:42 PM

And yet the lsm will focus on the few libs that were screened

cmsinaz on June 24, 2013 at 7:39 PM

…yepper!

KOOLAID2 on June 24, 2013 at 7:53 PM

Update: Congressional sources who’ve seen the new IRS report tell CNN yes, progressives were targeted too:

I doubt this actually happened.

No doubt these lists were created to cover the tracks of the foul smelling people of political hackery imbedded into the IRS.

Where are the e-mails regarding ALL of this?

Freddy on June 24, 2013 at 7:53 PM

I can’t believe the “uh oh” in this title. Don’t fall for this crap, AP. They just washed away the one-sided political targeting.

p0s3r on June 24, 2013 at 7:55 PM

THREE Prog groups were subjected to additional scrutiny. Jim Hoft has a running tally:

** Nearly 500 conservative groups targeted

** At least 5 pro-Israel groups targeted

** Constitutional groups targeted

** Groups that criticized Obama administration were targeted

** At least two pro-life groups targeted

** A Texas voting-rights group was targeted

** Conservative activists and businesses were targeted.

** At least one conservative Hispanic group was targeted

Resist We Much on June 24, 2013 at 8:01 PM

I can’t tell what Werfel means by “broad spectrum” and “wide-ranging,” though. Is he hinting that maybe liberal groups were flagged too?

More likely, they were targeting everybody BUT those liberal groups.

Steve Eggleston on June 24, 2013 at 8:12 PM

Update: Congressional sources who’ve seen the new IRS report tell CNN yes, progressives were targeted too:

Right. Must be why so many liberal groups have come forward with horror stories about their applications being shelved for years, applications being denied and having members given rectal exams. And by “so many” I mean zero.

forest on June 24, 2013 at 8:13 PM

I’m shocked no one in the Coffee Party was targeted?

txhsmom on June 24, 2013 at 8:33 PM

I have a bridge to sell you.

Philly on June 24, 2013 at 8:34 PM

And a unicorn farm.

Philly on June 24, 2013 at 8:34 PM

The “progressive” groups were screened and flagged for fast track approval……how much ya wanna bet??

dddave on June 24, 2013 at 7:41 PM

Yes, and retroactive approvals as well, like the REB’s brother’s 501 group.

slickwillie2001 on June 24, 2013 at 8:35 PM

No evidence of “intentional wrongdoing”, except for, well lists of terms.

MTF on June 24, 2013 at 8:43 PM

Stop getting distracted. There is only one question here:

“Who is going to prison?”

HopeHeFails on June 24, 2013 at 8:45 PM

No evidence of “intentional wrongdoing”, except for, well lists of terms.

That, and a Presidential election was thrown due to the most massive political attack in American history

HopeHeFails on June 24, 2013 at 8:47 PM

How the hell Washington is not surrounded at this point is beyond me.

Talon on June 24, 2013 at 8:58 PM

if($name is like “tea party”) then goto sub DELAY
elsif($name is like “progressive”) then goto sub EXPEDITE

sub DELAY
for ($date = 11042008, until $date=11082016, $date = $date+1)
Submit $100IntrusiveQuestions[$date]
next $date
end sub DELAY

sub EXPEDITE
Print $501CImmediateApproval
end sub EXPEDITE

HakerA on June 24, 2013 at 8:59 PM

Until these fascist scumbags are being prosecuted and sentenced, I honestly don’t care.

Philly on June 24, 2013 at 9:06 PM

HakerA on June 24, 2013 at 8:59 PM

Just that easy…….

Talon on June 24, 2013 at 9:18 PM

Conservative groups targeted for delay and liberal groups targeted for quick approval… its obvious.

crazywater on June 24, 2013 at 9:24 PM

Progressives were most likely targeted for favorable treatment.

paul1149 on June 24, 2013 at 9:38 PM

They call us terrorists. Then they abuse us and dare us to behave like terrorists.

But if we actually did behave like terrorists, then they wouldn’t dare abuse us.

So the key to get them to stop abusing us is to become what they already accuse of being.

Oh wait, but then we’d lose the “Indies”. Oh wait, the majority of “Indies” voted for Romney, and Obama still won.

ardenenoch on June 24, 2013 at 10:09 PM

They call us terrorists. Then they abuse us and dare us to behave like terrorists.

But if we actually did behave like terrorists, then they wouldn’t dare abuse us.

So the key to get them to stop abusing us is to become what they already accuse of being.

Oh wait, but then we’d lose the “Indies”. Oh wait, the majority of “Indies” voted for Romney, and Obama still won.

ardenenoch on June 24, 2013 at 10:09 PM

PLUS INFINITY TIMES INFINITY!!!!!!

Talon on June 24, 2013 at 10:23 PM

It may not matter much if Werfel does some spring-cleaning, because the election result was achieved. This will blow over and by the time the next election comes, leftist stooges can be re-installed to guarantee the next one.

His main guideline is not to tap anyone with Whitehouse connections.

virgo on June 25, 2013 at 1:16 AM

“revelation that “progressives” were targeted like “tea party” groups”

This is spin, complete spin to give the mirage of fairness, just like the article that said “only 6 out of 10 targeted groups were conservative” (that is, “it wasn’t as bad as it seems”) when the data showed 6 out of 10 of targeted groups had overtly conservative names, BUT only 1 out of 30 had overtly liberal names–a fact conveniently omitted.

G. Charles on June 25, 2013 at 9:22 AM

The IRS targeted liberal groups as well as conservatives for extra scrutiny in tax exempt applications, using the term “progressive” among other liberal sounding terms to screen for groups engaged in political activity, multiple Democrat congressional sources tell CNN.

FIFY.

If the IRS had really targeted liberal groups, Moveon.org, ACORN, Chrissy Tingletoes, Daily Kos, and the Puffington Host would have been all over the lefty media (sorry for the redundancy) screaming about Republican plants in the IRS denying them tax-free status for helping the poor, and discriminating against Latinos and African Americans.

The fact that we didn’t hear Peep 1 about anyone’s taxes (except Mitt Romney’s) before the election shows that no liberal groups were really targeted by the IRS.

Steve Z on June 25, 2013 at 9:27 AM

If the IRS had really targeted liberal groups, Moveon.org, ACORN, Chrissy Tingletoes, Daily Kos, and the Puffington Host would have been all over the lefty media (sorry for the redundancy) screaming about Republican plants in the IRS denying them tax-free status for helping the poor, and discriminating against Latinos and African Americans.

To the contrary, they (or at least, their acolytes) are claiming that the lack of complaints comes from being soooo mature that they realize the IRS is going to bend them over for daring to file for c4 status, and didn’t pitch a (so-called) tantrum about it.

The Schaef on June 25, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Any word yet on whether running the President’s official Twitter account is political activity?

The Schaef on June 25, 2013 at 11:19 AM

Liberal groups: We weren’t targeted for extra scrutiny
http://hotair.com/archives/2013/06/06/liberal-groups-we-werent-targeted-for-extra-scrutiny/

Shut up forever, leftists.

CanofSand on June 25, 2013 at 9:06 PM