Have you ever been talking about an activist liberal and referred to him or her as “a Reagan” just because it was shorthand to describe a political person? Me neither, but one IRS official is trying to say such a slapstick labeling culture exists at the IRS:
When front-line tax agents in Cincinnati used the term “tea party,” they didn’t just mean conservative groups. Instead, a “tea party” case could refer to an application for tax-exemption from any group – including liberal ones – believed to be engaging in political activity, one IRS official told congressional investigators.
“Since the first case that came up to Washington happened to have that name, it appeared to me that that’s what they were calling it that as a shorthand, because the first case had been that,” said Holly Paz, the Internal Revenue Service’s director of rulings and agreements. She said “tea party” could mean any political group, just like “Coke” is often used as a generic term for soda, or people refer to tissues as “Kleenex.”
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At the IRS, Tea Party could me Liberal, you know the ones who don’t clean up after themselves
Paz, the highest-ranking IRS official with knowledge of the targeting to thus far cooperate with the congressional investigation, spoke to House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and bipartisan committee staffers on May 21. USA TODAY reviewed all 222 pages of the transcript of her interview.
Paz said liberal groups were mentioned by name, alongside the Tea Party, on an IRS BOLO — or “be on the lookout” — list. Screeners in Cincinnati, where all applications for tax-exemptions are processed, used the list to identify sensitive or complex cases that should be sent to specialists in Cincinnati and Washington.