POLITICS
05/13/2013 09:35 am ET | Updated May 13, 2013

IRS Acted Alone In Developing Targeting Criteria For Conservative Groups: Report

The IRS' Friday admission that it disproportionately scrutinized groups with the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their applications for tax-exempt status has led some politicians to lay the blame on the Obama administration. However, a report in the Wall Street Journal Sunday said that a forthcoming Treasury Department inspector general report would show that no one outside IRS developed the criteria.

"On Sunday, a government official said the report will note that IRS officials told investigators that no one outside the IRS was involved in developing the criteria the agency now acknowledges were flawed," the WSJ reported. The report bolsters what Lois Lerner, the IRS director of exempt organizations, said Friday -- that the practice was "absolutely not" influenced by the administration.

The Associated Press reported on Saturday that based on a draft of the IG report, knowledge of the practice seemed not to be confined just to low-level employees, as initially claimed. Lerner was informed of the targeting practice on June 29, 2011, the IG report says, according to the AP. The IG report notes that Lerner wanted the criteria immediately changed. The AP also reported that according to the portion of the IG investigation released to the news outlet, it is unclear whether IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman or anyone outside the IRS knew about the changes.

Republican lawmakers have called on Obama to condemn the IRS for its targeting. "I think that it’s very disappointing the president hasn’t personally condemned this and spoken out," Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union." "The president needs to make it crystal clear that this is totally unacceptable in America."

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