New Oversight Report Debunks Myth that Liberal Groups were Targeted by IRS

April 7, 2014

WASHINGTON – Today, as part of the ongoing investigation into the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., released a Committee staff report titled, “Debunking the Myth that the IRS Targeted Progressives: How the IRS and Congressional Democrats Misled America about Disparate Treatment.”

“[T]he Administration and congressional Democrats have seized upon the notion that the IRS’s targeting was not just limited to conservative applicants,” the report states. “These Democratic claims are flat-out wrong and have no basis in any thorough examination of the facts.  Yet, the Administration’s chief defenders continue to make these assertions in a concerted effort to deflect and distract from the truth about the IRS’s targeting of tax-exempt applicants.”

“[T]here is simply no evidence that any liberal or progressive group received enhanced scrutiny because its application reflected the organization’s political views.”

Among the key findings of the report:

  • IRS’s three “test” cases were all conservative organizations: Prescott Tea Party, American Junto, the Albuquerque Tea Party. (pp. 14-18)
  • Congressional Democrats made misleading claims about the targeting. Democratic Members of Congress, including Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, Ranking Member Sander Levin, and Representative Gerry Connolly, made misleading claims that the IRS targeted liberal-oriented groups based on documents selectively produced by the IRS. (pp. 7-13)
  • IRS selectively released documents supporting the misleading claims. The IRS cited 6103 protections for taxpayer information to withhold details about the targeting from the American public, but reversed its decision in August 2013 to release information helpful to its cause. (pp. 11)
  • MYTH: Progressive groups were also targeted.Only seven applications in the IRS backlog contained the word “progressive,” all of which were then approved by the IRS, while Tea Party groups received unprecedented review and experienced years-long delays. While some liberal-oriented groups were singled out for scrutiny, evidence shows it was due to non-political reasons. (pp. 32-35)
  • MYTHS:  False Democratic claims of political targeting about specific groups exposed: Where the IRS identified liberal-oriented groups for scrutiny, evidence shows that it did so for objective, non-political reasons and not because of the groups’ political beliefs. (p.32)
  • ACORN groups – IRS employees testified that former ACORN affiliates were scrutinized out of concern that they were old organizations improperly applying as new ones and not because of their political beliefs. (pp. 40–42)
  • Emerge America – IRS employees testified that Emerge Groups were scrutinized after some had already been approved and the IRS became concerned about improper private benefit – not because of their political beliefs. (pp. 42–44)
  • Occupy Wall Street – The Committee has found no evidence that the IRS subjected Occupy applicants to burdensome and intrusive information requests or even seen evidence that “Occupy Wall Street” or an affiliate organization applied to the IRS for non-profit status. (pp. 44–45)

You can read the complete report here.

On Thursday, April 10th at 9:00 a.m., the Committee will vote on a resolution to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify before the Committee.

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