While Republicans would have us believe that "progressive" groups were spared from IRS targeting, the facts paint a very different picture. Indeed, it is looking more and more as if the Bush appointed, so-called "independent" inspector general -- in a "soft" coup attempt against the Obama Administration -- conspired with Republican Congressman Darrell Issa to conceal the targeting of the liberal groups and fabricate a Nixonian "scandal."
The whole spin on the groups with "progress" or "progressive" in their names is just nonsense. There were only 20 of such groups applying during the years in question. Yet, there were about 200 other left-leaning groups targeted with search terms including "occupy, green energy, medical marijuana, healthcare reform," and the like. And, as it turns out, this targeting continued long after the targeting of the Tea Party groups had ended.
The fact is that right-leaning groups comprised 2/3 of the total tax-exempt applications yet only 1/3 of the 298 groups targeted for heightened scrutiny were from the right. The liberal groups are now coming forward and it is clear that they were subjected to the same letters of inquiry and "intrusive" questions to determine if they were crossing the line from issue advocacy to prohibited political electioneering. In the end, the only groups that had their tax-exempt status denied or revoked were left-leaning.
Despite the rhetoric from the Republicans, no groups were silenced or prevented from taking part in the 2012 elections as they did not even need to apply to the IRS for 501(c)(4) status and instead only need to "self-declare" as such, go about their business and file a 990 at tax time. Furthermore, the Democrats certainly had no motive to slow down the Tea Party groups, as Tea Party candidates were knocking out establishment Republicans in the primaries and going on to lose to Democrats in the general election.
This absence of any nefarious motive or actual wrongdoing by Democrats is further illustrated by the results of multiple investigations which have revealed that the targeting originated with a self-described "conservative Republican" IRS civil servant supervised by a Bush appointee while the IRS was being run by a Bush appointee.
This being the case, the independent inspector general, yet another Bush appointee, needs to himself be subjected to "heightened scrutiny" as he apparently conspired with Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, chairman of the House oversight committee, to cherry pick only the IRS interaction with Tea Party groups in an attempt to fabricate a Nixonian "scandal."
A possible Republican conspiracy to manufacture a "soft" coup aside, the fact is that these Tea Party groups absolutely should be further scrutinized as they are likely attempting to skirt the law by applying for tax-exempt status as charitable social welfare organizations when they should properly be categorized as PACs or 527 organizations. Doing this the right way, however, would legally require these groups to disclose their donors. (Just as the DNC and the RNC must do.) And, of course, this would prove what we already know: That the Tea Party groups are not really grassroots organizations at all, but instead are corporate fronts heavily financed by the likes of the Koch brothers to further their agenda of dodging corporate taxation and accountability.