An investigation into allegations of partisan behavior at the Internal Revenue Service has turned up evidence that both liberal and conservative groups were targeted for extra scrutiny.
According to The Washington Post, the investigation’s findings cast doubt on Republican allegations that President Obama ordered the agency to target conservative groups.
The allegations of bias were made after a 2013 investigation by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). In that investigation, TIGTA had examined cases from 2010, 2011, and 2012. They discovered 96 groups with conservative-sounding names were selected for what is called intensive review. The House Ways and Means Committee was able to add 152 more groups to TIGTA’s list.
At the time, Democrats argued TIGTA’s investigation used selective criteria and did not adequately measure the number of non-conservative groups selected for intensive review.
The recently released TIGTA report uses a broader set of criteria. In the new investigation, TIGTA identified 146 left-leaning groups that were targeted for IRS scrutiny.
TIGTA’s full report will be published on Thursday. It includes the same warning against targeting groups based solely on their names and emphasizes the need to find actual evidence of wrongdoing.
The investigation also found that groups were subject to lengthy reviews and requests for information that were possibly illegal.
However, the agency does not believe any specific recommendations are needed at this time, because the IRS has “completely revamped the process for reviewing tax-exempt applications” since 2012.
In 2015, the Senate Finance Committee found that conservative groups were disproportionately targeted. Some Republican legislators have encouraged the Trump Administration to charge former IRS official Lois Lerner with obstruction of justice.
However, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote a letter that said, “reopening the criminal investigation would not be appropriate based on the available evidence.”
House and Ways Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) said the report shows the IRS still needs to be held accountable for its behavior.
Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), who served on the House Ways and Means Committee when the scandal broke, suggested TIGTA’s new report showed that Republicans had attempted to exploit the IRS’s mistakes for political gain.