House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., reportedly told the Treasury office to exclude liberal groups from the May audit of the Internal Revenue Service, which uncovered unfair treatment of groups applying for nonprofit status.
A spokesman for Treasury, Inspector General J. Russell George, told The Hill on Tuesday that Issa instructed them to “narrowly focus on tea party organizations.”
The audit found evidence that tea party groups with “patriot” in their name were given more scrutiny than usual, which sometimes resulted in yearlong delays.
When the IRS admitted to targeting the tea party groups, it noted that it gave similar scrutiny to liberal groups, including Emerge America and Clean Elections Texas. The liberal group Catholics United reportedly waited seven years to receive tax exempt status.
Issa told CNN on Tuesday he believes the tea party was being targeted by Obama — “perhaps not on his request” but “on his behalf.”
New documents, however, show that liberal groups and Occupy groups were also flagged as BOLO: “be on the lookout.”
“We did not review the use, disposition, purpose or content of the other BOLOs,"
George said. "That was outside the scope of our audit.”
Raw Story reported these BOLO memos said tax exempt status for progressive groups “may not be appropriate” because they practice “anti-Republican” activity.
The audit uncovered about 300 groups that were unfairly targeted during their application for nonprofit status. Only 98 were categorized as tea party or 9/12 groups. The rest of the groups were labeled "other." When Issa was asked at congressional hearings if the other groups were liberal, he kept insisting that he had no way of knowing based on the evidence.
“Failing to make this clear in these documents and at congressional hearings, even when asked directly, has been fully misleading,” wrote Rep. Sandy Levin, D-Mich., in a letter to George on Wednesday. “It has contributed to the distortion of this entire investigation, including use of innuendo and totally unsubstantiated assertions of White House involvement.”
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., questioned George about whether liberal groups were singled during a May hearing. On Tuesday, Connolly called the inspector general’s answers to his questions "at best incomplete, if not misleading."