Russell George, the Treasury Department official who detailed the IRS targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, says liberal groups faced far less scrutiny from the agency.
George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, told Democratic Rep. Sandy Levin of Michigan in a letter that just six progressive groups were targeted compared to 292 conservative groups, reports the Washington Examiner
In Wednesday's letter to Levin, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, George also said that 100 percent of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status were scrutinized, compared to 30 percent of progressive groups.
Levin and other Democrats claimed this week that progressive groups were targeted just as much as conservatives, and pointed to new information showing that the terms "progress" and "progressive" were also on the so-called "Be on the Lookout," or BOLO lists
"Based on the information you flagged . . . TIGTA performed additional research which determined that six tax-exempt applications filed between May 2010 and May 2012 having the words 'progress' or 'progressive' in their names were included in the 298 cases the IRS identified as potential political cases," wrote George.
"We also determined that 14 tax-exempt applications filed between May 2010 and May 2012 using the words 'progress' or 'progressive' in their names were not referred for added scrutiny as potential political cases."
Democrats have charged that George's initial audit allowed Republicans to over-politicize the IRS handling of applications for special tax status.
"In total, 30 percent of the organizations we identified with the words 'progress' or 'progressive' in their names were processed as potential political cases," George wrote, adding, "In comparison, our audit found that 100 percent of the tax-exempt applications with Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 in their names were processed as potential political cases during the timeframe of our audit."
"At this point, the evidence shows us that conservative groups were not only flagged, but targeted and abused by the IRS," said Sarah Swinehart, a spokeswoman for Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican.
"As we gather the facts, we will follow them wherever they lead us. Chairman Camp encourages all groups, regardless of political affiliation, that feel they may have been targeted to come forward and share their story," she said.
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