The Internal Revenue Service’s new chief said Monday an internal investigation has revealed other instances of the agency using “be on the lookout” lists — employed by the agency to scrutinize conservative and Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status,
“When I got to the IRS, we started a more comprehensive review of the operations of this part of the IRS, have been looking at documents and business operations, and we did determine and discover that there are other BOLO lists in place,” Daniel Werfel said in a conference call with reporters. “And upon discovering that, we also found that we believed there continued to be inappropriate or questionable criteria on these BOLO lists. Once we came to that conclusion, we took immediate action to suspend the use of these lists in the exempt organizations unit within the IRS.”In a tweet, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte called the latest revelations “Troubling.” A “full investigation must continue,” said the New Hampshire Republican.
The Huffington Post reported that Werfel would not say which organizations appeared on these other BOLO lists and what criteria were used to screen them.
The tax agency has been under fire for weeks after news emerged that it had singled out conservative organizations.
Werfel reaffirmed a May 14 Treasury inspector general report’s finding that no employees or outsiders intentionally subjected Tea Party and other conservative groups to extra scrutiny.
“While fact gathering is still under way, we have not found evidence of intentional wrongdoing” by anyone outside or inside the IRS, Werfel told reporters.White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a written statement that President Barack Obama believes Werfel’s report “is an important step in ensuring accountability for any staff that acted inappropriately, identifies the failures in their systems that allowed the misconduct to happen, and takes a forward-looking systemic view at the agency’s management.”
The scrutiny of conservative groups has set off a probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and resignations by top officials and congressional investigations.Obama last month fired then-acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller and ordered a 30-day review of the matter.
Werfel’s full report outlines a new fast-track process for tax-exempt applications stalled for more than 120 days, allowing them to “self-certify” by pledging to not spend more than 40 percent of their activities and expenditures on political activity.
Congress is pressuring the IRS to provide additional documents about the agency's tax-exempt application targeting. Werfel is set to testify before the House Ways and Means Committee Thursday.