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FBI Knew About IRS Targeting in 2013

Lois Lerner
Former IRS official Lois Lerner's program to stonewall tax-exempt applications for conservative groups has been fully exposed. (Reuters photo)

The government watchdog Judicial Watch took a brief diversion from their usual political attacks on Hillary Clinton.

Their new targets are former IRS employee Lois Lerner and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Monday afternoon, Judicial Watch released a series of documents that provide the most concrete evidence to-date the IRS engaged in an "deliberate policy of burying conservative groups' tax exemption applications" in bureaucratic delays.

More than 100 documents were released by the watchdog.

These documents, called "302 documents," are detailed narratives prepared by FBI agents who are conducting an investigation. In particular, these documents focus on the IRS office in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a 2010 program in which Tea Party and other conservative group tax exempt applications would not be approved before the November 2012 presidential election.

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The strategy relied upon the IRS' multi-tier "bucketing" system that determined from the time an application was received whether it would be quickly approved or indefinitely delayed.

The first bucket—the "incomplete bucket"—automatically kicked the application back to the applicant because of missing documents. The second bucket—the "merit close"—meant the application met all the criteria and was quickly approved.

The third and fourth buckets meant that other issues needed to be addressed by the applicant. According to FBI interviews with Cincinnati agency employees, top Washington IRS officials issued directives making certain that no "Be on the Look Out" Tea Party applications could be put in the "merit closed" bucket.

"IRS officials described for the FBI unlawful and purposeful bureaucratic delays orchestrated by top IRS officials in Washington, DC," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "One IRS official details how concerns about the Obama IRS targeting of conservatives were ignored. We hope a future Justice Department follows up on this information in a renewed criminal investigation."

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