Report: IRS targeted more conservative groups than thought

Lois Lerner’s now infamous conference-call remark about not being good at math came in the course of an exchange where she claimed that 300 or so groups had been singled out by the IRS for special scrutiny, a quarter of which had “tea party” or “patriot” in their name and the rest of which were guilty of sins like criticizing the government.


The actual number may be …. higher.

The IRS targeting of conservative groups is far broader than first reported, with nearly 500 organizations singled out for additional scrutiny, according to two lawmakers briefed by the agency.

IRS officials claimed on Friday that roughly 300 groups received additional scrutiny. Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Tuesday that the number has actually risen to 471. Further, they said it is “unclear” whether Tea Party and other conservative groups are being targeted to this day

Given the advance knowledge of the program, Issa and Jordan voiced serious concerns about the honesty of top IRS officials and the lack of disciplinary action. The lawmakers said they’ve learned nobody has been disciplined and that one employee at the Cincinnati office where this program was supposedly started “received a promotion or ‘career enhancement.'”…

They said “at no point” did Lerner or anyone else inform Congress of the findings. And they claimed it appeared Lerner “provided false or misleading information on four separate occasions” in 2012 on the program.

The inspector general’s report has finally been released as I’m writing this. HuffPo has a copy. A key graphic:


That’s where Lerner got her “300 groups” figure from — but that figure is, per Issa and Jordan, wrong. Why did it show up in the IG’s report, then? Did someone lie to the IG too, or have there been another 173 groups targeted over the past 12 months?


The report goes on to blame “ineffective management” at the IRS for allowing the bogus anti-conservative application filter to persist for a year and a half before the criteria were changed. Was that it, or was it actually the political heat they suddenly started taking last spring that caused them to reconsider? “Ineffective management” is more suitable as an all-purpose explanation for scandalmania this week than it is for 471 groups over three years being singled out for special scrutiny.

Update: Yup.

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John Sexton 8:40 PM on September 21, 2023