Politics

IRS Names Hundreds Of Tea Party Groups Subjected To Extra Scrutiny

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter

The Internal Revenue Service has released the names of 426 conservative organizations subjected to additional scrutiny while applying for tax-exempt status between 2010 and 2012.

The list – filed with federal courts last month – consisted of largely of groups with the words tea (60), liberty (22), Constitution (8) and patriot (33) in their names, The Washington Times first reported. The number is a steep jump from the 298 groups identified by the IRS’ inspector general in May 2015.

While the majority of the organizations were conservative, a few left-leaning groups were featured on the list – including three with the word occupy in their title. An additional 40 groups opted not to have their names released as they opted out of the class-action lawsuit against the agency.

Top Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official Lois Lerner stepped down shortly after the scandal broke after apologizing for unfairly targeting Tea Party groups, yet didn’t face criminal charges.

The Department of Justice conducted a two-year probe into the agency’s conduct – but faced challenges due to Lerner’s crashed hard drive, the absence of email archives and the destruction of over 400 electronic backup tapes. The DOJ was ultimately unable to prove the IRS official “intentionally discriminated against an applicant based upon viewpoint” and cited line-employees’ “ignorance, inertia” and “negligence” for delays in Tea Party applications for tax-exempt status.

The release comes amid House Republicans’ push to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who they allege allowed for the destruction of evidence under his watch.

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