The Internal Revenue Service’s screening of groups seeking tax-exempt status was broader and lasted longer than previously has been disclosed, the new head of the agency acknowledged Monday. Terms including “Israel,” “Progressive” and “Occupy” were used by agency workers to help pick groups for closer examination, according to an internal IRS document obtained by The Associated Press.
The IRS has been under fire since last month after admitting it targeted tea party and other conservative groups that wanted the tax-exempt designation for tough examinations. Though investigators have said that agency screening for those groups had stopped in May 2012, Monday’s revelations made it clear that screening for other kinds of organizations continued until earlier this month, when the agency’s new chief, Danny Werfel, says he discovered it and ordered it halted.
The IRS document said an investigation into why specific terms were included was still underway. It blamed the continued use of inappropriate criteria by screeners on “a lapse in judgment” by the agency’s former top officials. The document did not name the officials, but many top leaders have been replaced.
Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee released 15 lists of terms that the IRS agency used and has provided to congressional investigators. Some of the lists used the terms “Progressive” and “Tea Party,” and others including “Medical Marijuana,” “Occupied Territory Advocacy,” “Healthcare legislation,” “Newspaper Entities” and “Paying National Debt.”