FBI interviews reveal IRS delayed Tea Party applications until after 2012 campaign

by WorldTribune Staff, August 4, 2016

Employees at the IRS’s Cincinnati office said that the agency “deliberately” delayed processing Tea Party tax exemption applications until after the 2012 presidential election, Judicial Watch reported on Aug. 1.

According to 105 pages of newly obtained FBI “302” documents, interviews with numerous Cincinnati IRS employees in mid-2013 show that “Tea Party” group applications “were automatically denied approval and assigned to a special ‘Group 7822’ for an extended ‘inventory’ process while waiting for decisions” from IRS headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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FBI “302” documents are detailed narratives of FBI investigation interviews.

One IRS manager “asked why progressive cases were not segregated similar to the Tea Party cases, but she did not get any satisfactory answers.”

The Obama Justice Department and FBI investigations into the Obama IRS scandal resulted in no criminal charges.

According to a Cincinnati “Group Manager” interview in July of 2013:

“Group 7822 was composed of 12 to 15 people and was simply a place for the Tea Party cases to be held in inventory while the agent waited to receive guidance from the Washington office. There had been no precedence previously on these issues. If the case said it supports politics and political activity, it would be put into Group 7822. [Redacted] and then [Redacted] held the cases in inventory.”

A second Cincinnati “Group Manager” interviewed in July 2013 told the FBI 302 interviewers a similar story, directly citing the IRS Washington headquarters:

“In the 14-month period when [Redacted] had the cases, he would ask for updates on guidance and was told they were still waiting on DC. He recalls receiving emails with contradictory guidance on whether the 501-c-3 or 501-c-4 cases should be denied. It was his understanding that a team would come and work the Tea Party cases when the guidance was provided … Nobody told him directly where the delay was in resolving the Tea Party issue. DC is like a black hole.”

The Cincinnati employees said the IRS adopted a “series of policies assuring that Tea Party and other conservative group tax exempt applications would not be approved before the November 2012 presidential election.”

Related: ‘Smoking-gun documents’ show IRS knew about targeting of conservatives before 2012 election, July 29, 2016.

According to the Judicial Watch report, the strategy relied upon the IRS’s multi-tier “bucketing” system that “determined from the time an application was received whether it would be quickly approved or indefinitely delayed.”

A Cincinnati Quality Assurance Specialist told the FBI interviewers in detail of her frustrations with trying to get feedback in order to process Tea Party cases:

“They called them ‘Tea Party cases.’ She knew they were conservative groups from the stuff in the news in April 2010. Initially, she was assigned 20 cases. She received instructions from either [Redacted] or [Redacted] to contact EO Technical …”

“… It then started to take longer and longer for [Redacted] to respond … By September 2010, he did not get back to her at all.… The Tea Party cases started to backlog since [Redacted] was no longer responding… She knew the Tea Party was vocal in the news, and could see the perception that big government, the IRS, was holding cases. She expressed her frustration about the delay. She felt that every taxpayer deserves a determination, approval or denial.”

Judicial Watch previously released 294 pages of FBI 302 documents revealing that top Washington IRS officials, including Lois Lerner, who was interviewed in June 2013 and again in October 2013, knew that the agency was specifically targeting Tea Party and other conservative organizations two full years before disclosing it to Congress and the public.

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