Remember how Obama kidded about having the IRS audit people who had opposed him? Maybe it wasn't as much of a joke as we thought. The AP reports:
The Internal Revenue Service inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status, a top IRS official said Friday.
Organizations were singled out because they included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their applications for tax-exempt status, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups.
In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.
"That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases for further review," Lerner said at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association.
"The IRS would like to apologize for that," she added.
Lerner said the practice was initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias. After her talk, she told The AP that no high level IRS officials knew about the practice.
Agency officials found out about the practice last year and moved to correct it, the IRS said in a statement. The statement did not specify when officials found out.
About 75 groups were inappropriately targeted. None had their tax-exempt status revoked, Lerner said.Only low-level workers were involved? We've heard that before. It's called plausible deniability. Kevin Williamson at the National Review suggests: "This is not the sort of offense that should get these IRS workers fired from their jobs — it is the sort of offense that should get them five years in prison."
One thing about this Administration is that it seems to be confirming many of the conspiracy theorists.