The IRS apologized Friday for what it acknowledged was “inappropriate” targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status. The agency blamed low-level employees, saying no high-level officials were aware.
Lois Lerner, who runs the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt organizations, knew about the targeting of Tea Party groups since June 29, 2011.
Lerner learned at a meeting that the groups were being targeted, according to the watchdog’s report. At the meeting, she was told that groups with “Tea Party,” `’Patriot” or “9/12 Project” in their names were being flagged for additional and often burdensome scrutiny, the report says. In addition, the Determinations Unit sent cases to a designated team of specialists to be worked that had issues including government spending, government debt, or taxes, or included statements in their files criticizing how the country is being run.
The 9-12 Project is a group started by conservative TV personality Glenn Beck.
Lerner instructed agents to change the criteria for flagging groups “immediately,” the report says.
The Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration is expected to release the results of a nearly yearlong investigation in the coming week. The AP obtained part of the draft report, which has been shared with congressional aides.
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