By Patrick Temple-West and Kim Dixon
WASHINGTON, June 24 U.S. Internal Revenue
Service agents used more than just "Tea Party" and other
conservative terms to screen tax exempt applications, the
newly-appointed IRS chief said on Monday after a month-long
review ordered by President Barack Obama.
The IRS has scrapped use of the "be on the lookout" (BOLO)
lists, newly appointed IRS chief Daniel Werfel said in a
conference call with reporters. His disclosure about the breadth
of the lists added a new twist to a six-week-old controversy
that has embarrassed the Obama administration, forced the exit
of several IRS officials and triggered probes by the FBI and
"We did determine and discover there are other BOLO lists in
place," Werfel said on the call. "There was a wide ranging set
of categories and cases that spanned a broad spectrum."
A top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, Sander
Levin, said the word "progressive" was on one of the lists,
which agency officials have said they used to flag applications
for potential scrutiny.
The IRS has been blasted for the lists since May 10 when a
senior official apologized for scrutiny of conservative groups.
On May 14, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
(TIGTA) issued a report on the lists.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Obama met with
Werfel on Monday, and called the report a good first step.
"As the President has made clear, the misconduct identified
in last month's Inspector General report is unacceptable,"
Carney said in a statement.
In response to the controversy, Obama last month fired
then-acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller and ordered a 30-day
review. At least three other IRS officials have
been replaced or are on administrative leave.
Werfel said the IRS review found no intentional wrongdoing
by employees inside or outside the agency.
Republican lawmakers, who have been suspicious that the
White House played a role in the added scrutiny, said that many
questions remained unanswered.
"The IRS still needs to provide clear answers ... who
started this practice, why was it allowed to continue for so
long, and how widespread was it?" said Dave Camp, the Republican
chief of the Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House of
Werfel is set to testify before the committee on Thursday.
LISTS ALSO FLAGGED "PROGRESSIVE" GROUPS
The IRS has provided hundreds of pages of documents to
congressional investigators. Levin released some of the lists
later on Monday, including one that included "progressive."
Levin, a Democrat from Michigan, said the May 14 TIGTA
report is flawed because it ignored this fact.
"The audit served as the basis and impetus for a wide range
of Congressional investigations and this new information shows
that the foundation of those investigations is flawed in a
fundamental way," Levin said.
According to documents released by Levin, the lists also
included applications from groups interested in "disputed
territories in the Middle East" and Obama's controversial health
care law, among other hot-button topics.
Werfel's full report also outlines a new fast-track process
for tax-exempt, 501(c)(4) applications stalled for more than 120
days, allowing them to "self-certify" by pledging to not spend
more than 40 percent of their activities and expenditures on
"If they are less than 40, we think they are in a good place
to self-certify and move forward," Werfel said, adding that
those with 40 percent to 50 percent would likely require IRS
Political activity must not be the primary purpose of groups
earning 501(c)(4) status, according to IRS interpretation of the
But the murky definition of "primary" led to some of the
short-cuts used by IRS agents that got them into trouble, IRS
officials have said.