IRS Targeted Groups Based On ‘Guilt By Association’ And ‘Party Affiliation’

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A top Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official said the agency’s tax exemption office targeted organizations based on “guilt by association,” according to documents obtained by nonprofit government watchdog Judicial Watch.

The IRS illegally targeted Tea Party and conservative groups applying for non-profit status by delaying or outright denying their applications during the 2010 and 2012 election campaigns. (RELATED: New FBI Docs Show IRS Tea Party Applications To ‘Black Hole’)

The tax exemption officials “think they know what the org is doing, rather than looking at actual activities,” IRS Office of Rulings and Agreements Director Holly Paz said, according to meeting notes made public Wednesday by Judicial Watch. “Q’s were not activity based, but guilt by association questions – like q’s asking party affiliations.”

“Agents felt if they could ask enough questions, they will find a problem,” Paz continued. “Agents were jumping to negative conclusions and assumptions – particularly where relationship with political groups or affiliations.”

The notes were part of nearly 1,600 pages of documents Judicial Watch obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. It’s unknown who recorded the notes.

The FBI collected significant evidence that could have led to prosecutions, but the agency declined to send referrals to prosecutors. (RELATED: Justice Dept. Had ‘Powerful Case’ For IRS Targeting Charges)

“This further confirms the IRS knew about abuses years before they were exposed,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “President-elect Trump should reopen the criminal investigation of the IRS as soon as he is sworn into office.”

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