Report: IRS-Targeted Groups Tested Limits

Maybe it was a reason the Internal Revenue Service was targeting certain groups. The New York Times reports that many of the groups applying for tax-exempt status as "social welfare" organizations were involved in political activities, and that some of the IRS' seemingly strange questions were designed to figure out whether election politics or social welfare was their primary purpose. That distinction is hard to draw, according to a former Justice Department tax lawyer quoted by the Times, and can involve questions about the organization's internet activity, whether its leaders plan to run for office, and the status of its volunteers. One former IRS official went so far as to call the inspector general “careless in his terminology” when he said the IRS inappropriately targeted these groups. Meanwhile, Congressional staffers will spend the recess poring over IRS documents as lawmakers try to find more agents at fault.