The assertion comes as a striking blow to Democrats who have defended the agency in recent weeks asserting that conservative groups were not the only ones being targeted by the IRS.
The IRS scandal involves the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division of the IRS openly targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organization status between 2010 and 2012. Those groups faced additional audits and scrutiny by the agency. The audits cost the organizations tens of thousands of dollars and countless employee hours, and ultimately delayed the groups from receiving tax-exempt status.
Treasury Inspector General George has been conducting an investigation into IRS activities in this matter and determined that the IRS was using inappropriate criteria to identify tax-exempt applications for review by a team of specialists, including applications from organizations with “Tea Party,” “Patriots,” or “9/12” in the name.
Inspector General George told Congress that the IRS had asked illegal questions of the target Tea Party organizations in the process of the audits, “including requests for donor information, position on issues, and whether officers have run for public office.”
The investigation reveals that the IRS targeted 292 conservative groups.
The Washington Examiner reported:
The letter from the Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed that there just weren't many progressive groups who even sought special tax exempt status. A total of 20 sought it, and six were probed. All 292 Tea Party groups, meanwhile, were part of the IRS witchhunt.
Democrats seized upon the information that six progressive groups were probed, and declared that the IG investigation was flawed and not entirely “forthright” with its information. The Democrats claimed that by leaving out the information regarding the progressive details, it gave Republicans the opportunity to make the scandal appear politically motivated.
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