June 24th, 2013
04:59 PM ET
5 years ago

IRS also targeted progressive groups

Washington (CNN) – The Internal Revenue Service targeted liberal groups as well as conservatives seeking tax-exempt status, a Democratic congressman charged on Monday after the agency acknowledged the inappropriate practice continued until last month.

Rep. Sander Levin said the term "progressives" was included on IRS screening lists of applicants for tax-exempt status made available to Congress on Monday.

Read a "BOLO" from November 2010 here.


Filed under: IRS
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. moderate

    These groups definitely needed to be scrutinized either way (conservative or liberal), but I agree that name profiling was inappropriate. And I'm not surprised to hear that liberal groups were also targeted. Such an approach targets specific groups instead of just targeting political groups applying for social issues tax status in general.

    June 24, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  2. Kzooresident

    So, what's the percentage of commenters who have actually read through the "evidence"?

    It's the word "progressive" in one cell of a spreadsheet that's been redacted with a shotgun. And that particular "issue" contains no additional action or instructions on what's to be done.

    This is the "smoking gun"? Looks more like O.J. trying to put on the glove...

    June 24, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  3. stephen

    I hope this shuts people up already.

    June 24, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  4. Tom

    So "progressive" was also on the Bolo list for special handling. Perhaps the special handling was to hurry their applications along.
    Need more detail.

    June 24, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. Chris

    “IRS also targeted progressive groups” Yah right, if this was even slightly true it would have been plastered all over the news organizations months ago because we all know that the IRS has been scrambling all over the place to try to put the investigation on the back burner. Looks like someone in the IRS/Washington D.C. has been cooking the books again.

    June 24, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  6. Mark

    The fact remains that most conservative groups applying were stonewalled while most liberal groups were granted status, so this means little. The comments here only further prove that to the left, no amount of smoke will ever lead to fire. The ends justify the means.

    June 24, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  7. Randy, San Francisco

    Nothing has changed...everyone is scared of the IRS except for the mega rich tax evaders with their army of tax lawyers.

    June 24, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  8. Padric

    Oddly enough, I'm yet to hear of any Progressive groups saying that they were singled out. Just because the word is on the IRS BOLO list doesn't mean that they were subjected to the same levels of scrutiny and delay that Conservative groups were.

    If I were a Progressive, I'd be a tad hesitant to call this a fake scandal because if Progressive groups were on the list and weren't subjected to the delays and scrutiny, that will make this whole thing even worse. Beyond that, it will look as if the new IRS chief is trying to give somebody political cover.

    June 24, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  9. Scott

    Te best part is if Issa and the rest had just dropped it this would have never come out.

    June 24, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  10. dzerres

    Most of these 501(c)4 groups should get a tax exemption in the first place. Their primary purpose is political (like Karl Rove's group and similar ones on the left), and have nothing to do with "social welfare" which is the primary reason for the tax exemption per the tax code. They can do all the politicking they want, they just can't do it on the tax payer's dime.

    June 24, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  11. okfine

    Why aren't they crying like a bunch of snot nosed babies? Maybe because these groups -all of them- were free to proceed with their business while their applications were being reviewed as long as they complied with the law and filed the required paperwork.

    June 24, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  12. Kurt

    Targeted for what? No applications were held up what so ever. If anything they “targeted” them to EXPEDITE them! What a total CROCK!

    June 24, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  13. Tony in Maine

    I wonder how Issa will investigate this...

    June 24, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  14. cb

    Hey Issa, who's the "paid liar" now?

    June 24, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  15. boungiorno

    Tin foil hats for everyone LINE UP

    June 24, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    Hey, folks, CATCH A CLUE!

    The only reason the IRS was even targeting anyone was because of the huge and sudden influx of groups claiming tax-exempt 401(c)(4) status – THANKS TO THE CITIZENS UNITED RULING.

    You want to put an end to this? Besides smacking up 'side the head all the low-level IRS managers who took a lazy approach to investigating these groups, we need to OVERTURN CITIZENS UNITED.

    People are people – NOT corporations. Shell groups like American Crossroads (Karl Rove's group) and Media Research Center (propaganda arm of Mark Levin, the rightwing shock jock) have this tax-exempt status. They are not "social welfare" organizations; they exist solely to funnel money tax-free to their political candidates and campaigns.

    BTW, in the 2012 election cycle (through November 26, 2012), here are the biggest donors to American Crossroads:

    Harold Simmons, Contran Corp. ($20.5 million)
    Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas Sands Corp. ($11.5 million)
    Miriam Adelson, Adelson Drug Clinic ($11.5 million)
    Bob Perry, Perry Homes ($8.5 million)
    Robert Rowling, TRT Holdings, Inc. ($3.5 million)
    Weaver Holdings, Inc. ($3.4 million)

    June 24, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  17. Richard Right

    Yes do away with tax breaks for all involved in politics, even religious organizations unless they stay away from politics, social issues ok but not politics. No deals for unions or non profits etc.

    June 24, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  18. Chipster

    What's the ratio of new liberal organizations in comparison to new tea party organizations. That's probably the ratio of scrutiny. The IRS checks organizations, especially new organizations for accuracy in the tax status they have chosen. The code is confusing and I'm sure it isn't unusual for new organizations to choose the wrong IRS tax status. Frankly, I'm glad they were caught doing what we pay them to do.

    June 24, 2013 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  19. Trever

    Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Nothing to see here. Move along.

    June 25, 2013 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  20. J.V.Hodgson

    My problem with all of this Werfel's report in ( slightly plus) 30 days actually proposes solutions and has actions already taken, to prevent what were a mistaken route to expedite and limit resources to a complex matter. No way connected to the white house. The HIssy fit guy and others are simply politicking the matter and not interested at all in fixing the problem.
    He's said OK self guarantee your spend 60/40 social /political and you can have tax free status expedited now.
    If you perjure yourself or don't stick to 60 /40 you may in future be investigated.
    Grow up move on and spend you committees time on the Budget reconciliation and real tax reform.

    June 25, 2013 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  21. Marie MD

    Poor little car thief. Has anyone seen or heard from him lately? I hope this fiasco doesn't lead him back to his criminal days. Then again . . . . . .
    I wish he would go on the Bill Maher show and, I would hope, that Bill mops the floor with him as he should! Friend or no friend of the show.

    June 25, 2013 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  22. Dutch/Bad Newz aka Take Back The House

    CNN, so all of a sudden you want to mention that progressive groups were targeted as well. You're so late and your selective reporting is a disservice to journalism.

    June 25, 2013 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  23. TONY

    The feds need to investigation these teaclowns applying for tax exempt status I am quite certain they will find criminal activities.

    June 25, 2013 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  24. Al-NY,NY

    so long Darrell. You're McCarthyist witch hunt is over.

    June 25, 2013 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    The right is still angry, claiming that a lot more conservative groups were scrutinized than liberal groups. I guess they want to ignore the fact that conservative groups vastly outnumbered all other types of groups combined. They also want to ignore the fact that the whole thing was started by a conservative, and conservative groups were given a ticket to the front of the line.

    June 25, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
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