Digital Access

Digital Access
Access nwherald.com from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, weekend and Sunday packages.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Stay connected to us wherever you are! Get breaking news updates along with other area information sent to you as a text message to your wireless device.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Plan your weekend and catch up on the news with our newsletters.
Nation & World

IRS chief: Inappropriate screening was broad

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service's screening of groups seeking tax-exempt status was broader and lasted longer than has been previously disclosed, the new head of the agency said Monday.

In a conference call with reporters, Danny Werfel said that after becoming acting IRS chief last month, he discovered wide-ranging and improper terms on lists screeners were still using to choose groups for careful examinations. He did not specify what terms were on the lists, but said he suspended the use of all such lists immediately.

"There was a wide-ranging set of categories and cases that spanned a broad spectrum" on the lists, Werfel said. He added that his aides found those lists contained "inappropriate criteria that was in use."

Werfel's comments suggest the IRS may have been targeting groups other than tea party and other conservative organizations for tough examinations to see if they qualify. The agency has been under fire since last month for targeting those groups.

His comments also indicate that the use of inappropriate terms on such lists lasted longer than has been revealed previously. A report last month by a Treasury Department inspector general said agency officials abolished targeting of conservative groups with those lists in May 2012.

Werfel said preliminary results of an examination he has conducted of his agency have so far found no indication of improper screening beyond the IRS offices that examines groups seeking tax-exempt status.

He said he believes there was "insufficient action" by IRS managers to prevent and disclose the problem involving the screening of certain groups, but has discovered no specific clues of misconduct.

"We have not found evidence of intentional wrongdoing by anyone in the IRS or involvement in these matters by anyone outside the IRS," he told reporters.

The IRS has provided congressional committees investigating the agency documents related to the screening problems. He said work was continuing on removing sensitive taxpayer information from those documents, and he said he expects them to be released soon.

___

AP reporter Stephen Ohlemacher contributed to this report.

Loading more