Earlier today, IRS Principal Deputy Commissioner Danny Werfel admitted that agents in Cincinnati unlawfully targeted other groups on top of the much-publicized scrutiny of tea party groups. The Cincinnati office, which approves certain group’s registration for tax exemption, admits to using a “Be On the Look Out” list or a B.O.L.O. list for a wide range of groups.
Congressional Democrats also released a list of targeted groups, pointing out that the word “progressive” in the title was a common thread in addition to “tea party” and, ironically, “patriot.” The Associate Press also included the keywords, “Israel” and “Occupy,” suggesting that the I.R.S. casts a wide net for potential tax violations.
"There were a series of these types of lists being used in this part of the IRS as part of their review of tax-exempt applications," said I.R.S. Commissioner Werfel.
Werfel reports that the IRS is currently working to redact all personal data from its evaluations of applications for tax exemption. He cites poor leadership for the persistent and unfair targeting.
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Werfel did not expound on the other groups targeted or put on the B.O.L.O. lists, perhaps due to their sensitive nature. Also unclear is the extent to which B.O.L.O lists are used in other branches of the I.R.S. Conservative groups complained of undue attention in other respects besides their application for tax exemption. For example, many small businesses are now complaining of unprovoked audits. Moreover, of the 298 group applications the IRS gave extra scrutiny, 96 were those of tea party groups. The IRS has not divulged the details of the remaining 202 groups.