IRS Suspending Tea Party Targeting Techniques

... A month and a half after scandal breaks


The Internal Revenue Service announced on Monday that it has suspended the use of controversial screening techniques that targeted conservative groups for additional scrutiny.

The announcement came a month and a half after its use of those techniques came to light.

In the midst of investigations by Congress and the Justice Department and widespread public condemnation of the practice, the agency announced it would finally stop using the techniques to screen applicants for nonprofit status for additional scrutiny, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Internal Revenue Service said on Monday it was suspending the use of screening criteria of the type that led to heavy-handed scrutiny of tea-party groups.

In an interim report on the controversy released on Monday, the IRS blamed "significant management and judgment failures" for the agency's targeting of conservative groups. The agency has replaced a number of managers involved in the problematic reviews, said interim IRS leader Danny Werfel on a conference call with reporters. Mr. Werfel, who was brought in last month by the White House to clean up the IRS, succeeded the acting commissioner, Steven Miller, who was ousted soon after the controversy erupted in May.

The IRS said in the report it had found other "inappropriate" criteria being used by agency employees to flag for extra scrutiny applications from groups seeking tax-exempt status. But it didn't initially detail those criteria.

The agency said it was establishing a new process to give previously targeted groups a fast-track alternative for becoming tax-exempt. The report was released to provide an update on the IRS's internal investigation into what went wrong and what steps it is taking to fix the problems.

Published under: IRS