According to House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and new documents, 80 percent of groups applying for tax exempt status were conservative, again throwing out the argument that progressive groups were "targeted" equally. New information also shows groups with "anti-Obama" indicators in their applications were specifically set aside for further harassment. More from USAToday:
Newly uncovered IRS documents show the agency flagged political groups based on the content of their literature, raising concerns specifically about "anti-Obama rhetoric," inflammatory language and "emotional" statements made by non-profits seeking tax-exempt status.
The internal 2011 documents, obtained by USA TODAY, list 162 groups by name, with comments by Internal Revenue Service lawyers in Washington raising issues about their political, lobbying and advocacy activities. In 21 cases, those activities were characterized as "propaganda."
At his Arizona State University commencement speech last Wednesday, Mr. Obama noted that ASU had refused to grant him an honorary degree, citing his lack of experience, and the controversy this had caused. He then demonstrated ASU's point by remarking, "I really thought this was much ado about nothing, but I do think we all learned an important lesson. I learned never again to pick another team over the Sun Devils in my NCAA brackets. . . . President [Michael] Crowe and the Board of Regents will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS."
The conservative group American's for Prosperity was targeted and harassed by the IRS. They were also mentioned multiple times publicly by President Obama.
There may not be an direct link or document showing the White House ordered the IRS to target conservative groups, but the words that repeatedly came out of Obama's mouth match up to what the IRS was looking for in their targeting process.
The White House has tried to distance itself from the growing IRS scandal, but there is a clear pattern emerging that connects undue scrutiny from the IRS with President Obama’s own rhetoric. It’s now clear that at the same time President Obama was attacking Americans for Prosperity (AFP) by name, the IRS was harassing tea party groups and asking them about their association with AFP.
Tim Phillips, president of AFP said, “The connection between Obama’s rhetoric and IRS action seems more than coincidental. It points to a clear agenda to silence those who oppose Obama’s big-government policies like Obamacare, Cap & Trade, and the failed Stimulus. Today Obama acknowledged the abuse taking place under his watch, but he needs to apologize to the American people who were targeted, take direct responsibility, and demand a full investigation.”
At the very least, Barack Obama is partially responsible for the targeting and he has created a culture of bullying and intimidation inside many federal government agencies.