A report being circulated Tuesday by House investigators says IRS employees were “acutely” aware in 2010 that President Obama wanted to crack down on conservative organizations and were egged into targeting tea party groups by press reports mocking the emerging movement.
The report quoted two Internal Revenue Service officials saying the tea party applications were singled out in the targeting program that has the agency under investigation because “they were likely to attract media attention.”
The report went on to say that the IRS was at least taking cues from political leaders and designed special policies to review tea party applications, including dispatching some of them to Washington to be vetted by headquarters.
“As prominent politicians publicly urged the IRS to take action on tax-exempt groups engaged in legal campaign intervention activities, the IRS treated tea party applications differently,” the staff report concludes.
“Applications filed by tea party groups were identified and grouped due to media attention surrounding the existence of the tea party in general.”
Lois Lerner (pictured), head of the Internal Revenue Service unit that decides whether to grant tax-exempt status, was put on administrative leave after she declared her innocence but refused to answer congressional questions about the targeting hiding behind the fifth amendment meaning that she feared her answers may have tended to incriminate her.
Full report here.