Senior Internal Revenue Service officials knew employees were singling out conservative groups for extra scrutiny as early as 2011
, according to a watchdog agency’s report set to be released next week, POLITICO has confirmed from a congressional source.
The disclosure that senior officials knew agents were flagging applications containing the words “patriot” or “tea party” contradicts public statements
by former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. He repeatedly denied that his agency was targeting conservative groups when asked by Congress last year.
“There’s absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back and forth that happens to people” who apply for tax-exempt status, Shulman told a House Ways and Means subcommittee
in March 2012.
The congressional source, who was briefed on the report, said the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that senior Washington officials were informed in 2011.
The findings from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report was first reported by Associated Press. The report is set to be released in full next week.
The report will also confirm that the IRS asked unnecessary questions of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status from the agency, the source said, and that there were delays in processing applications for conservative applicants and other c(4) groups.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) will convene a hearing on the matter in the coming weeks. Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) will do the same. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor also said the House would investigate the matter.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, the ranking member of the Finance Committee, promised to fully investigate who was behind the IRS decision to probe conservative tax-exempt groups and compared the practice to Watergate and “the Nixon years.”