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New Details Emerge on IRS Targeting Conservatives

AP
• June 3, 2013 9:15 am

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Republicans’ top House investigator revealed details of whistleblower testimony on Sunday that suggest the scandal involving targeting of Tea Party groups by the Internal Revenue Service was more coordinated than the agency has admitted.

One IRS agent interviewed by the committee revealed that orders to target some groups had come directly from Washington, D.C., contradicting statements from the agency’s tax-exempt division chief Lois Lerner and other administration officials.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) did not mince words in an appearance on CNN’s "State of the Union," calling White House press secretary Jay Carney a "paid liar" who, Issa said, is "still making up things about what happened and calling this a local rogue."

That claim has the left incensed, with some calling on Issa to apologize and others suggesting Republicans may be "overreaching" in their investigation.

The scandal, though, continued to deepen over the weekend after reports that IRS targeting involved 88 employees, suggesting more involvement by agency officials in Washington than the IRS and the White House have admitted.

Personal stories of groups that were apparently targeted for additional scrutiny also continue to emerge. Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney detailed the chilling effect that IRS targeting had on one northern Virginia Tea Party group:

The Manassas Tea Party sought tax-exempt status in May 2010, partly so it could raise money more easily. It wanted to be what’s called a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, to get a tax exemption for itself and so its donors could remain anonymous. (In that IRS category, the donors themselves can’t claim a tax deduction.)

The IRS gave its approval only last January after demanding volumes of paperwork.

"It was without question stifling," chairman Dan Arnold said. "We stopped fundraising altogether. We kept our activities at a very low scale. People became less involved because they weren’t quite sure what kind of organization we were."

The weekend also brought news that former acting IRS commissioner Doug Shulman’s wife is an outspoken left-wing activist who has joined Organizing for Action and Occupy groups to protest conservative political spending.

Susan Anderson, Shulman’s wife, is an employee of the left-wing campaign finance reform group Public Campaign, which minimized concerns about Tea Party targeting after the agency admitted that it had singled out conservative groups.

Public Campaign receives funding from major labor unions and other liberal political groups.

Published under: IRS, Lois Lerner, Obama Administration