The Internal Revenue Service is still looking into how its review of tax-exempt organizations got so messed up, but so far the agency has not found any evidence of a grand conspiracy.
That’s the assessment of Daniel Werfel, the acting chief of the Internal Revenue Service.
The finding was highlighted by Werfel during a conference call with reporters Monday afternoon in advance of the release of the agency’s report on its internal investigation. The analysis was requested by the Treasury Department and White House when Werfel was appointed in May following the firing of Acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller in the wake of the Tea Party tax-exempt application screening brouhaha.
“We found no evidence of intentional wrongdoing in the IRS or involvement by anyone outside the IRS,” says Werfel.
For those still holding out hope that the White House might be shown as the source of the targeting of groups with “Tea Party,” “9/12” or “patriot” in their names, Werfel did note that the investigation is continuing.
But so far, the inappropriate criteria cited by Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration in evaluating organizations’ requests for 501(c)(4) status appear to be isolated to the IRS and do not appear to be politically motivated.
The IRS did find, however, that in addition to the “be on look out,” or BOLO, lists for words used by conservative organizations, other similar lists were used by agency application screeners.
“There were a series of these types of lists being used in this part of the IRS as part of their review of tax-exempt applications,” Werfel says.
Werfel would not divulge details of these additional BOLO lists, but says, “There was a wide-ranging set of categories and cases that spanned a broad spectrum.”
But all BOLO lists, says Werfel, are no longer in use within the IRS.
Werfel will be discussing the report, “Charting a Path Forward at the IRS: Initial Assessment and Plan of Action,” when he testifies before the Ways and Means Committee Thursday, June 27.
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Veteran contributing editor Kay Bell is the author of the book “The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes” and a co-author of the e-book “Future Millionaires’ Guidebook.”