Democratic, liberal groups got IRS scrutiny, too

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Amid the uproar, and calls for investigations, over IRS employees using inappropriate criteria and questions to vet applications for 501(c)4 non-profit status by tea party groups, a few facts are falling through the cracks. Among them: tea party groups weren’t the only ones subjected to unfair scrutiny. And while none of the dozens of tea party groups who complained of bias had their applications denied, in the case of at least one Democratic leaning organization, the IRS said “no” to their request to be declared tax exempt.

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As Bloomberg reported on Wednesday:

The Internal Revenue Service, under pressure after admitting it targeted anti-tax Tea Party groups for scrutiny in recent years, also had its eye on at least three Democratic-leaning organizations seeking nonprofit status.

One of those groups, Emerge America, saw its tax-exempt status denied, forcing it to disclose its donors and pay some taxes. None of the Republican groups have said their applications were rejected.

Progress Texas, another of the organizations, faced the same lines of questioning as the Tea Party groups from the same IRS office that issued letters to the Republican-friendly applicants. A third group, Clean Elections Texas, which supports public funding of campaigns, also received IRS inquiries.

In a statement late yesterday, the tax agency said it had pooled together the politically active nonpartisan applicants — including a “minority” that were identified because of their names. “It is also important to understand that the group of centralized cases included organizations of all political views,” the IRS said in its statement.

In fact, Tea Party groups made up just one-third of the applications that got extra review, while two-thirds of the organizations reviewed were not identified by name. Meanwhile, according to The Atlantic:

It is also worth noting that under review by the IG, every official interviewed indicated that “the criteria were not influenced by any individual or organization outside the IRS.” In other words, no one pinned any blame on the White House.

Purported non-profits spent $1 billion during the 2012 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Follow Joy Reid on Twitter at @thereidreport.