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IRS Targeted Progressive Groups in Addition to Conservatives, Documents Reveal

The Internal Revenue Service targeted progressive groups applying for tax-exempt status in addition to conservative ones, according to IRS documents released by congressional Democrats on Monday.

The documents and an internal IRS report being sent to congressional committees reveal that the tax agency used terms that included “progressive” and “occupy” to flag progressive organizations for extra scrutiny before the 2012 elections.

The revelations greatly complicate the political scandal that has engulfed the IRS over the past few weeks. An inspector general report in mid-May revealed the tax agency had screened conservative groups with words like “tea party” in their name when considering applications for tax-exempt status. Lawmakers from both parties quickly denounced the creation of such “Be On The Lookout,” or BOLO, lists. Republicans in particular argued the finding proved the IRS was trying to tip the scales of the election during the heat of the campaign.

Now it appears the agency’s BOLOs were applied to organizations across the ideological spectrum. The IRS also screened groups advocating on behalf of Israeli settlements who were applying for non-profit 501c4 status — a criterion that may on its own prove politically toxic.

A request for comment from the IRS was not immediately returned. The news of the progressive BOLO was first reported by The Associated Press.

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