New York, NY (PIX11) – The plot thickens in the scandal of the IRS picking and choosing groups for closer examination before granting tax-exempt status.
It turns out IRS screeners used a list of buzz words to look for in organization names that included more than just ‘tea party.’
The words, ‘progressive,’ ‘Israel’ and ‘occupy’ were also on the lists.
“The IRS has really put it’s foot in it,” said Bill Dobbs of Occupy Wall Street, who says the addition of these words showcase a government agency that doesn’t seem to discriminate who it discriminates against.
“It’s very alarming nonetheless that IRS is doing some political profiling,” said Dobbs.
Occupy Wall Street never applied for tax exempt status. The group has always had a fiscal sponsor because leaders never wanted to go through the red tape. While Dobbs isn’t surprised Occupy made the list, he says, it is alarming that government likes to muzzle it’s critics.
Today, the acting head of the IRS, Danny Werfel, admitted he found improper terms on the lists and that screeners were still using them. So, he said, he suspended the use of the lists altogether.
Werfel released an 80 page report of the embattled agency where he highlights problems and offers solutions – all in an effort, he says, to prevent unfair treatment of taxpayers in the future. That includes fast-tracking the approval process for those groups seeking tax exempt status.
Werfel did say today, he has not found evidence of intentional wrongdoing by anyone in the IRS. At least 5 top managers in the agency have been let go.
He also added the agency is committed to correcting it’s mistakes.
Dobbs hopes that the IRS scandal benefits Americans in the long run.
“Some truth will emerge and there will be greater respect for groups, organizations and businesses to raise their political voice,” said Dobbs.