New emails reveal that the IRS targeted Tea Party groups for special scrutiny from its headquarters in Washington, D.C., Fox News reported Thursday.
These directly refute the consistent claims from the Obama administration that the targeting of conservative groups was an isolated incident by employees in the agency's Cincinnati office. President Obama said there was not even a "smidgeon of corruption" at the IRS during a February interview with Bill O'Reilly.
The latest revelations in the IRS scandal are courtesy of the advocacy group "Judicial Watch," which obtained the emails through the Freedom of Information Act. They include one written in April 2013 by Lois Lerner, who previously headed the tax agency's unit in charge of screening applications for tax-exempt status. She was held in contempt by Congress for not fully disclosing her role in the scandal.
"In this newly uncovered email, Lerner wrote to eternal IRS investigators about the criteria that the IRS had developed for its so-called ‘BOLO' program, which stood for ‘Be on the Lookout' and which was used to apply particular scrutiny to tax-exempt applications filed by Tea Party groups," correspondent James Rosen said. "The Lerner email specifies that the criteria included any group using the words "Tea Party, Patriot or 9/12 project."
They also included groups whose animating issues were government spending, debt and taxes, those that want to educate the public through advocacy, legislative activities and to make America a better place to live, or those applications where the case file included statements that are "critical of how the country is being run."
They also show correspondence between Cincinnati and the Washington office of the Exempt Organizations Technical unit, or EOT, with one message stating in July 2010, "EOT is working the Tea Party applications in coordination with Cincy."