Three years after the IRS targeted conservatives, the agency finally released a list of the groups directly affected by the increased scrutiny.
The tax agency filed the list last month as part of a court case after a series of federal judges, fed up with what they said was the agency’s stonewalling, ordered it to get a move on. The case is a class-action lawsuit, so the list of names is critical to knowing the scope of those who would have a claim against the IRS. But even as it answers some questions, the list raises others, including exactly when the targeting stopped, and how broadly the tax agency drew its net when it went after nonprofits for unusual scrutiny.
The government released names of 426 organizations. Another 40 were not released as part of the list because they had already opted out of being part of the class-action suit. That total is much higher than the 298 groups the IRS‘ inspector general identified back in May 2013, when investigators first revealed the agency had been subjecting applications to long — potentially illegal — delays, and forcing them to answer intrusive questions about their activities. Tea party and conservative groups said they was the target of unusually heavy investigations and longer delays.
… Sixty of the groups on the list released last month have the word “tea” in their name, 33 have “patriot,” eight refer to the Constitution, and 13 have “912” in their name — which is the monicker of a movement started by conservatives. Another 26 group names refer to “liberty,” though that list does include some groups that are not discernibly conservative in orientation.
Without a doubt, these 466 organizations are just the tip of the iceberg. The IRS has been lying to Americans from day one, initially denying any targeting in the first place. The IRS only admits to wrongdoing after it has been caught. There are likely more victims to the agency’s abuse of power than we will ever know.
Republicans in Congress are trying to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who has been a complete failure in holding the agency accountable for its mistakes. They are also pushing for more IRS budget cuts. Republicans need to keep pushing the issue into the sunlight until the IRS puts real checks on its power. Americans should not have to live in fear of being targeted by their own government.