IRS Awarded One Conservative Group Tax-Exempt Status in Three-Year Period

Lois Lerner
Lois Lerner / AP
August 11, 2015

The Internal Revenue Service gave only one conservative advocacy group tax-exempt status because of its "deliquent" handling of applications from Tea Party and conservative groups, according to a report released by the Senate Finance Committee last week.

As reported by Americans for Tax Reform, former head of the IRS Exempt Organizations Unit Lois Lerner so severely failed to manage her staff that she prevented the government agency from granting non-profit status to all but one conservative group in a three-year period.

The Senate report details:

Due to the circuitous process implemented by Lerner, only one conservative political advocacy organization was granted tax-exempt status between February 2009 and May 2012. Lerner’s bias against these applicants unquestionably led to these delays, and is particularly evident when compared to the IRS’s treatment of other applications, discussed immediately below.

The report observed that Lerner, who had knowledge of the influx of applications from conservative groups in the Spring of 2010, thereafter "failed to adequately manage" members of her staff processing the applications in question for two years.

In sum, conservative and Tea Party groups waited 621 years for the IRS to issue a decision about their tax-exempt status in the period between 2009 and 2012.

In contrast, other cases involving progressive or non-affiliated applicants prompted the IRS to act more efficiently, leading the report to conclude, "The IRS’s treatment of these organizations was almost universally consistent with Lerner’s personal political views."

Upon the release of the Senate Finance Committee’s findings last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) accused the Obama administration of misleading Congress and hiding evidence in order to conceal the effort by the IRS to target conservative groups.

Multiple congressional lawmakers have demanded that President Obama fire current IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for hindering the congressional investigation into the targeting scandal.

In the wake of the report, the IRS insisted that it has "already taken many steps to  make improvements in our processes and procedures."

The Senate report also revealed that Lerner attempted to target Bristol Palin for compensation she received from the teen pregnancy charity Candie’s Foundation.

Published under: IRS , Tea Party