The Internal Revenue Service has admitted that it was involved in the “inappropriate” targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election cycle, under the guise of investigating the possible violation of tax exempt status. Lois Lerner, head of the IRS division overseeing tax-exempt groups, offered an apology of sorts after admitting that the tax bureaucracy had singled out dozens of organizations for additional reviews because they included words like “tea party” or “patriot” in their exemption applications. In some cases the IRS even demanded other information, such as lists of their donors, an action that violates IRS investigative policy.
Lerner acknowledged that the behavior was “absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases for further review. The IRS would like to apologize for that.”
According to the Associated Press, Lerner insisted “the practice was initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias. Agency officials found out about the practice last year and moved to correct it, the IRS said in a statement. The statement did not specify when officials found out.” At least 75 groups were targeted in the action, but, Lerner assured, none had their tax-exempt status revoked.
While the agency conceded that “mistakes were made,” it insisted that “they were in no way due to any political or partisan rationale.” In a conference call May 10 Lerner apologized for the breech, saying, “We made some mistakes, some people didn't use good judgment.”
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