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Barack Obama IRS Scandal: 8 Facts About Tea Party Tax Targeting Controversy

Image: Barack Obama IRS Scandal: 8 Facts About Tea Party Tax Targeting Controversy
Lois Lerner, former director of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division at the Internal Revenue Service(IRS), listens during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill March 5, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Brendan Smailowski/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 21 Dec 2014 02:03 PM

IRS officials have denied, then admitted and apologized for the agency’s treatment of conservative and Tea Party groups in seeking tax-exempt status. The activities may have helped the president’s re-election campaign, creating a scandal for Barack Obama.

Here are eight facts among the many that occurred during and after the controversy.

1. Lois Lerner, who stepped down as head of the exempt organization division for the IRS in 2013, denied she had been involved in targeting conservative groups that sought non-profit status. However, she took her Fifth Amendment rights during a Congressional hearing. It was later learned through an inspector general’s report on the scandal that she had been aware of the targeting since 2011.

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2. High-level officials in the IRS had also been involved in the targeting, despite claims that local employees only performed the illegal activity. News outlets such as Reuters and The Washington Post had reported on letters sent to conservative groups and discussions on targeting these groups, which had taken place by high-level officials in 2011, but by 2014, Obama was still saying it was done by local offices.

3. Documents released in May 2014 from a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch revealed that targeting instructions came out of the IRS office in Washington, D.C., and not through rogue employees in Cincinnati as officials originally claimed. In fact, Washington instructed Cincinnati employees about handling applications from Tea Party organizations.

4. The documents also revealed that the IRS submitted to pressure from U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, a Democrat seeking re-election, to focus on conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. It wasn’t just a Barack Obama scandal.

5. The IRS sent 1.1 million pages of tax data to the FBI in 2010 to investigate Tea Party groups, according to Barron’s. The FBI claimed it never used the information and returned it, and it also revealed it would not investigate any criminal charges because it felt it was a matter of mismanagement on the part of the IRS.

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6. A federal judge ruled against Tea Party groups in a lawsuit in November 2014 because it was a target of the IRS. However, the judge pointed out that the ruling stemmed from the IRS taking steps to deal with the scandal and that it “publicly suspended its targeting scheme.”

7. One of the groups in the lawsuit, True the Vote, was a conservative organization founded by Catherine Engelbrecht. After she filed the application with the IRS, she didn’t hear from the agency for three years. Instead, the IRS audited her and her family-run business.

8. The IRS gave no approvals to Tea Party organizations that had sent in nonprofit status applications from February 2010 to May 2012, but numerous organizations that had such words as “progressive” in their titles received approval during that same period, according to USA Today.

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IRS officials have denied, then admitted and apologized for the agency’s treatment of conservative and Tea Party groups in seeking tax-exempt status. The activities may have helped the president’s re-election campaign, creating a scandal for Barack Obama.
barack obama, scandal, facts, irs, controversy
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2014-03-21
Sunday, 21 Dec 2014 02:03 PM
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