Staff at IRS headquarters in Washington, D.C., buried conservative groups’ tax exemption applications beginning in 2010 and lasting through President Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012, according to documents released this week by Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group.
The group released 105 pages of FBI documents, which included interviews with Cincinnati IRS employees who disclosed that applications by Tea Party groups were automatically denied approval and assigned to a special group until they heard from the IRS headquarters in Washington, D.C.
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"The FBI’s 302 interviews with Cincinnati IRS employees reveal that the agency adopted a series of policies assuring that Tea Party and other conservative group tax exempt applications would not be approved before the November 2012 presidential election," according to a statement from Judicial Watch.
A manager from the Cincinnati IRS explained to the FBI that the Tea Party applications were put into a file called "Group 7822," where they were to be held while employees waiting for guidance from the D.C. IRS office.
Additionally, the IRS began a "BOLO" or "Be On the Lookout" list in 2010, adding Tea Party groups to that list in July or August 2010.
The IRS had a bucketing system, which determined whether applications were quickly approved or would be delayed. If an application was put into the "merit close" bucket, it meant the application met all criteria and was approved quickly.
According to the documents, IRS officials directed that no one on the BOLO list, which included Tea Party applications, could be put in the merit close bucket. This means that Tea Party applications would never be quickly approved.
"The BOLO was used as a tool for the screeners/classifiers and all revenue agents were expected to know what was on the list," the documents read. "If an item was on the BOLO list, then that case could not be merit closed by the screeners/classifiers."
For instance, one interview revealed how an IRS employee saw the Tea Party name on an application and sent it to development because he knew he couldn’t approve the case.
"IRS officials described for the FBI unlawful and purposeful bureaucratic delays orchestrated by top IRS officials in Washington, D.C.," said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. "One IRS official details how concerns about the Obama IRS targeting of conservatives were ignored. We hope a future Justice Department follows up on this information in a renewed criminal investigation."
More documents obtained by Judicial Watch revealed that Justice Department attorney Barbara Bosserman, who investigated the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, is an Obama campaign and Democratic Party donor.
Bosserman donated $6,750 to Obama campaigns and the Democratic National Committee from 2004 to 2012.
"Is it any surprise that this compromised investigation found no reason to prosecute anyone in the Obama IRS scandal?" said Fitton.
The IRS did not respond to requests for comment by press time.