When news broke last week just ahead of an IRS inspector general report detailing the specific and inappropriate targeting of conservative tea party groups, IRS officials claimed the targeting was the result of a few low-level IRS agents in Cincinnati. It turns out, that isn't true. Not only did senior IRS officials know about the targeting as early as 2011, but officials in California and more importantly, Washington D.C., helped carry it out.
Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved with investigating conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, making clear that the effort reached well beyond the branch in Cincinnati that was initially blamed, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.
IRS officials at the agency’s Washington headquarters sent queries to conservative groups asking about their donors and other aspects of their operations, while officials in the El Monte and Laguna Niguel offices in California sent similar questionnaires to tea-party-affiliated groups, the documents show.
The IRS has been caught in three lies up to this point. The first: IRS official Lois Lerner admitted to the inappropriate targeting of tea party groups but said the targeting in no way was politically motivated. That is a lie. The IRS targeted conservative groups and flagged words and phrases like "constitution," "patriot," "government spending," "limiting government," "9/12," "making America a better place to live," etc. The entire thing was political. The second: Initially IRS officials said the targeting was conducted by a few "low-level" agents working in Cincinnati. It turns out, the Cincinnati IRS office is anything but "low-level" and is the place to go when applying for tax-exempt status.
Upon a review of the IRS bureaucracy, though, the Cincinnati office is not a random backwater outpost for "low-level" IRS rogues. In fact, the Cincinnati office is where determinations on tax-exempt organizations' eligibility are made and is the only physical office in the complex IRS bureaucracy dedicated to tax-exempt determinations.
On the IRS's website, in the "How to Contact the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division" section, the Cincinnati office is the only one listed for people to contact if they have questions about "Charities & Non-Profits."
The third: IRS officials claimed nobody in Washington D.C. was a part of ongoing targeting and that senior IRS officials knew nothing about this when in fact, as noted above, senior officials knew as early as 2011.
Senior officials at the Internal Revenue Service were aware that its agents were targeting Tea Party groups as early as 2011, according to an Inspector General's draft report obtained by Fox News.
Lois Lerner, who runs the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt organizations, knew about the targeting of Tea Party groups since June 29, 2011.
Yesterday President Obama said if conservative groups were being targeted by the IRS, which we know they in fact were being targeted, that he's "got no patience for it."
|Katie Pavlich is the News Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is also the author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up.
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