Even more information coming out shows there was no IRS “scandal.”
Officials at the Internal Revenue Service were encouraged to flag groups with the word “emerge” in their names as well as potential successors to the anti-poverty organization ACORN, according to documents released by Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday.
The documents add another complicated layer to the ongoing (albeit diminished) controversy surrounding the IRS screening of Tea Party groups in 2010 and 2011. They also take additional steam out of the Republican Party’s insistence that the tax agency was politically motivated against conservative groups when it considered whether or not to grant tax-exempt, 501(c)(4) status.
Groups with the word “emerge” in the name tend to lean more Democratic. As The New York Times previously reported, three such organizations — Emerge Nevada, Emerge Maine and Emerge Massachusetts — all were denied tax-exempt status because the IRS determined that they existed strictly to benefit Democratic candidates.
“Once again it is clear that the Inspector General’s report left out critical information that skewed the audit’s findings and set the stage for Republicans to make completely baseless accusations in an effort to tarnish the White House,” said House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) in a prepared statement. “These new documents make it clear the IRS scrutiny of the political activity of 501(c)(4) organizations covered a broad spectrum of political ideology and was not politically motivated.”
The documents suggest that IRS screeners had cross-ideological guidelines when asked to determine whether or not to grant 501(c)(4) status.