The IRS is still able to target certain political groups despite the fact that the public are exposed for the unfair practice more than five years ago, according to a new report from a supervisor of the group.
A rule in place at the IRS sets the federal agency for delay of the applications of the non-profit groups seeking tax-exempt status, according to the Washington-based Cause of Action in its report “A Hidden Cause of the IRS Targeting Scandal.” The IRS admitted in 2013, in the run-up to the elections of 2012 for the agency unfairly targeted right-leaning groups as well as those with “Tea y” or “patriot” in their name. More than five years after the practice was exposed, Cause of Action says the IRS has not made changes to the practice.
“The legislation that allows them to do this is still there,” John Vecchione, executive director of the Cause of Action told Fox News. “It is a bureaucratic inertia until someone makes a change.”
The findings claims of the TAX authority is able to focus on these groups, and yet in accordance with its own rules. Cause of Action claims it does this in practice would be a simple and quick solution.
“The TAX administration has the authority to change its internal policy, at any time, which means that it can remove the problematic rules to their own discretion,” the authors of the report said in their findings. “As would the elimination of the agency, the procedure could be the targeting scandal. To date, the agency has not made the necessary changes to the rules.”
Officials of the TAX authorities to rebut the report of the claims.
“The IRS strongly disputes the report and a suggestion or complaint that Exempt Organizations is focused on the taxpayers,” reads a statement on Fox News. “The IRS emphasizes that this view was confirmed by independent third parties, including the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.”
“There should be absolutely no doubt about that point, and the ongoing commitment by the IRS to be accompanied by the tax law and nothing else.”
IRS officials also said that the report “understands” the process that some groups are flagged for further review. Those that receive heightened scrutiny are the so-called “sensitive cases” by the IRS.
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Former IRS official Lois Lerner on Capitol Hill in May 2013 during the hearings looking into whether agents improperly investigated applications for tax-exempt status by tea party and other conservative groups.
(AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
“They are used within the IRS to bring to senior management’s attention the cases in which can provide a press or Congressional attention, unique or new issues, or affect large numbers of taxpayers,” reads the statement. “It is important to note that the IRS internal guidelines on sensitive case reports do not instruct the employees to stop working a matter, or direct staff on how to work a case.”
Fox News first reported on the IRS allegations in February 2012, after having obtained the letters sent to the tea party groups sent by the federal agency that requested information about their policies, staff, lists, and even family members.
“ of what they (the IRS) asked was reasonable, but there were a number of requests that were strange,” Toby Marie Walker, president of the Waco Tea y, told Fox News at the time. “It makes you wonder if they do this to groups like ACORN or other left-leaning groups.”
The chapters that received requests were registering for non-profit status as a 501(c)4 organizations. The classification mainly differs from 501(c)3 groups in that donors cannot deduct their contributions from their taxable income.
The tax code places fewer restrictions on 501(c)4 groups, allowing them to lobby for their organizations’ missions. They are also allowed to take part in political activities such as endorsing candidates and donating money and time to specific campaigns, although it is not their primary activity.
The more tightly controlled, but more heavily subsidized 501(c)3 groups may not participate in political activities.
Tea y leaders say they are particularly offended by demands that they not only have the name of donors and volunteers, which is required by law, but were also asked to list any political ambitions of the members of the board or their family members.
Many of the Tea y chapters thought that the timing of the requests of the defendant was.
The IRS eventually apologized for the practice.
“That was wrong,” Lois Lerner, an IRS division head, told the Associated Press at the time. “That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate,” she said. “That’s not how we go about selecting cases for further review. The IRS would like to apologize for that.”
Perry Chiaramonte is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter via @perrych