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Criminal Charges Are Not Expected in IRS Probe

  • January 13, 2014

smileRecently, the Federal Bureau of Investigations announced that it doesn’t plan on filing criminal charges over the IRS’ heightened scrutiny of conservative groups. According to the Wall Street Journal, this news came recently from law enforcement officials, familiar with the case.

The representation is being made that there was no political bias involved, in the targeting of conservative groups. Instead, law enforcement officials claim there is evidence of mismanagement, particularly regarding the enforcement of tax-exemption applications.

One of the most striking, and important, issues, is the skepticism shared by Republicans. There is skepticism that the Obama administration will properly investigate itself. This may not be without reason, the Justice Department prosecutor handling the case has made donations to the Obama campaign.

For those that are not familiar, this investigation was sparked by a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which concluded that IRS staff, particularly the Determinations Unit based in Cincinnati, used criteria to unfairly target groups for special scrutiny. Groups allegedly targeted were those that had tax-exempt status, and conservative leanings.

Initially, an IRS employee in Cincinnati was asked to search for applications with certain terms in them, specifically “political sounding,” names. This resulted in the creation of a document called the BOLO – Be On The Look Out – which prompted heightened scrutiny of conservative groups.

What’s starting is that a third of the groups that received this scrutiny, had names that included, “TEA PARTY” – “PATRIOTS” – or “9/12”.

The scandal, which erupted in the early months of President Barack Obama’s second term, forced significant changes at the tax agency and preoccupied Washington for months. The White House forced out the acting IRS commissioner. The agency official who oversaw the work denied wrongdoing and later retired amid disciplinary actions.

The matter also spawned a number of congressional investigations, which are likely to continue despite any determinations made by the FBI or Justice Department.

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