How the IRS Made All Kinds of Groups' Lives Miserable

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We know the IRS acted inappropriately in flagging conservative groups for review when they were seeking non-profit status. But now Congressional Democrats charge that the IRS acted inappropriately in reporting how it acted inappropriately. Liberal groups also got extra scrutiny from the IRS on its Be On the Look Out lists. So did seemingly apolitical groups focused on open-source software. The Chi Eta Phi Sorority — a black nurses group that says it works for "social change" — has answered 73 questions from the IRS since it applied for tax-exempt status two years ago, The New York Times' Jonathan Weisman reports. Its application is still pending. Minnesota Break the Bonds, a pro-Palestinian group, got all the same questions conservative groups got — and those led to top IRS officials getting fired.

Congressional Democrats are asking IRS inspector general J. Russell George to explain why his report made it seem like only conservative groups were targeted, The Washington Post's Josh Hicks reports. In congressional testimony in June, George was asked whether progressive groups were targeted, and said, "in many instances were neutral, in that you couldn’t necessarily attribute it to one particular affiliation or another." Virginia Rep. Gerald Connolly, a Democrat, sent a letter to George saying the testimony was "at best incomplete, if not misleading." Connolly wants George back in Congress for more questioning. Michigan Rep. Sander Levin wrote a letter to George on June 26 saying, "There is increasing evidence that the May 14, 2013 audit was fundamentally flawed and that your handling of it has failed to meet the necessary test of objectivity and forthrightness."

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Tea Party groups and progressive groups were targeted on different parts of the BOLO list. Tea Partiers fell under the "emerging issues" category, while the progressive groups were listed elsewhere, with instructions like "Look for cases involving Medical Marijuana." The IRS says it's looking into whether the different placement on the list was significant, the Post reports. There was a clue George knew progressive groups might have had a hard time with the IRS during George's testimony in May. George was asked whether a group like might have ended up on the BOLO list, and George said, "I'm not in a position to give you a definitive response on that at this time."

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