A report taken from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration on Sunday revealed that a campaign scrutinizing conservative groups began as early as June 2011, and was brought to the attention of director of tax-exempt organizations Lois Lerner months before the 2012 presidential election began.
"I don't care if you're a conservative, a liberal, a Democrat or a Republican,” Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers said, “this should send a chill up your spine. It needs to have a full investigation."
The information contradicts IRS Commissioner Doulas Shulman’s initial statement, who told congressional investigators in March 2011 that specific groups were not being targeted.
In addition to flagging files that included the words “Tea Party” and “patriot”, a select number of IRS employees also targeted groups with relation to the 9/12 Coalition (a Fox News segment hosted by Glenn Beck), limiting or expanding government, education on the Constitution and Bill of Rights and criticism of how the country is governed.
Justin Sayfie, former Senior Policy Advisor to Jeb Bush, questioned the culture of the IRS, a place in which the word “patriot” is questioned rather than celebrated. He proceeded to say that, had the IRS flagged liberal groups, people would have “been up in arms” and Obama would have already taken action.
Sayfie furthered that Obama’s continued silence will be perceived as a wink and nod that the IRS’ behavior is acceptable.
Maine Rep. Senator Susan Collins was also disappointed in the president’s passivity, and asserted that the activity was not limited to a few “rogue” IRS employees.
"After all," Collins added, "groups with 'progressive' in their names were not targeted similarly."
Obama finally commented this morning, stating that if IRS personnel intentionally targeted conservative groups, they should be held accountable.
“That's outrageous,” he said, “and there's no place for it.”