It’s been a long time coming, but the IRS this week finally coughed up a list of the conservative organizations it knowingly targeted for additional tax scrutiny. Under pressure from several federal judges who had grown weary of the agency’s repeated attempts to kick the ball down the road, the IRS filed the list as part of a class-action lawsuit being brought against them.
Even at first glance, the list exposes previous IRS statements as misleading, if not deceptive. In 2013, the agency’s inspector general said there were approximately 300 groups identified as receiving undue scrutiny. The list, however, provides 426 names. And those don’t include another 40 who have opted out of the lawsuit.
According to the Washington Times, the political bias is obvious:
Sixty of the groups on the list released last month have the word “tea” in their name, 33 have “patriot,” eight refer to the Constitution, and 13 have “912” in their name – which is the moniker of a movement started by conservatives. Another 25 group names refer to “liberty,” though that list does include some groups that are not discernibly conservative in orientation.
That there are liberal-leaning groups in the list strikes some as suspicious in and of itself. Edward Greim, the lawyer representing the Tea Party Patriots in the suit against the IRS, told the Times that the agency may have deliberately scrutinized liberal groups once they realized the heat was coming down.
“Based on these changes, which to date remain unexplained, a very real possibility — if not probability — exists that the IRS modified its targeting in light of the investigations, packing its own internal lists of targeted groups to support its preferred narrative, including by adding ideologically diverse groups,” Greim said.
If true, it just adds one more layer of deception on top of an already stunning story – leaving no doubt that the IRS was functioning, at least in part, as a political tool for the Democratic Party and, perhaps, for President Barack Obama himself. And it gives even more weight to those pushing for IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to be impeached.