Fact check: No, new IG report doesn’t prove IRS targeting scandal was a right-wing ‘myth’

Saturday, November 04, 2017 by

News arrived last week that the US Department of Justice had reached a settlement with more than three dozen Tea Party and conservative groups improperly targeted by the Internal Revenue Service during the Obama administration.  As part of the agreement, the IRS offered a “sincere apology” for its abuses, harkening back to the era in which “IRS officials for mistreat[ed] conservative organizations who sought tax-exempt status…and IRS officials covered up the misconduct and misled Congress.”  From Reuters‘ October 26th story:

(Article by Guy Benson republished from TownHall.com)

The US Justice Department has reached a settlement with dozens of conservative groups that claimed the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) unfairly scrutinized them based on their political leanings when they sought a tax-exempt status, court documents showed. In a pair of lawsuits filed in federal court in 2013, the conservative groups accused the IRS of targeting organizations with such words as “Tea Party” or “patriots” when they applied to the agency for tax-exempt status starting in 2010. The sides asked the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday to issue a declarative judgment in one of the cases involving 41 plaintiffs that would say the IRS was wrong to apply the United States tax laws based on an entity’s name, position or association with a particular political movement…The IRS admitted it was wrong when it based screenings of the groups’ applications on their names or policy positions, subjected the groups to heightened scrutiny, and delays and demanded unnecessary information from the groups, the agreement in the Washington case said.  The IRS “expresses its sincere apology,” it said.

Here is the Attorney General’s statement on the matter, including a crucial line asserting that the evidence makes clear how that the IRS’ targeting criteria “disproportionately impacted conservative groups:”

As this development in the IRS scandal became public, liberals on social media circulated misleading analyses of an Inspector General (TIGTA) report released at the end of September, which lefty media outlets have hyped as a decisive ‘debunking’ of the whole story.  One widely-shared piece in this vein was a Mother Jones column declaring that the new information exposes the anti-Tea Party targeting affair as a complete myth — and that, in fact, progressive groups were the true victims:

It turns out that the 2013 audit was based on incomplete information because the IRS didn’t maintain case listings for most of the BOLO criteria. So TIGTA conducted a second audit…what did TIGTA find? Of these 146 cases which met the BOLO criteria based on words in the organization’s name, a grand total of ten were tea-party groups…In total, TIGTA identified 111 left-wing groups and 19 right-wing groups.(It’s unclear how the “healthcare” category broke out between left and right.) …Of [the cases referred for further investigation], only 15 percent were conservative groups. That’s it. The vast majority were liberal groups…There was nothing to any of this. There was never anything to it. Just a couple of PowerPoint presentations that were blown up into a “scandal” that never existed. But it took four years to officially confirm that.

Here is the chart Mother Jones relies on to make this point:

Read more at: TownHall.com



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