President Obama’s cheerleaders were on edge for a while there, as the IRS revealed it had been singling out conservative groups with names including “Tea Party,” “patriot” and “9/12” for extra and often invasive scrutiny. Some conservatives say their applications for nonprofit status were delayed over the course of multiple election cycles, effectively silencing them while IRS agents demanded reading lists, Facebook posts and contents of prayers. But wait!

Today, though, another report has been released, and liberals are practically celebrating the idea that progressive groups were targeted for their beliefs as well. Check out this excerpt of a newly unearthed BOLO list making the rounds:


It’s strange, though. The public first heard about the IRS targeting conservatives as the result of a planted question during a conference call that preceded the release of an inspector general’s report. The IRS apologized, and President Obama himself convened the press to issue a rare evening statement calling the targeting “intolerable and inexcusable.” Acting commissioner Steven Miller was asked to resign. Meanwhile, liberals circled the wagons in defense, suggesting that right-wingers were asking for it by criticizing the IRS and the government. Bette Midler thanked the IRS twice for targeting “hate groups” like the Tea Party.

But wait. The IRS reportedly flagged progressive groups too? Never mind. No scandal here. It was just a big misunderstanding that only today is being cleared up.

That is strange, isn’t it? Why didn’t these groups come forward to straighten out Midler and crew? Why did Miller allow himself to be thrown under the bus? Why did Lois Lerner plead the Fifth rather than set the record straight then and there?

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As anxious as Media Matters and friends are to declare the IRS scandal a non-event, National Review’s Eliana Johnson says not so fast. As hard as it is to believe, the mere presence of the word “progressive” on a document doesn’t prove that liberals were in for the same treatment as Tea Party groups.

Whereas screeners were merely alerted that a designation of 501(c)(3) status “may not be appropriate” for applications containing the word ”progressive” – 501(c)(3) groups are prohibited from conducting any political activities – they were told to send those of tea-party groups off for special screening “to Group 7822.”

That means the applications of progressive groups could be approved on the spot by line agents, while those of tea-party groups could not. Furthermore, the November 2010 list noted that tea-party cases were “currently being coordinated with EOT,” which stands for Exempt Organizations Technical, a group of tax lawyers in Washington, D.C. Those of progressive groups were not.