10 of 12 IRS offices implicated in scandal are in Washington

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Politics,DC,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,IRS,Mark Levin

The Treasury Inspector General's damaging report on the IRS-Tea Party scandal has destroyed the administration's claim that low-level workers in a Cincinnati, Ohio office are to blame, revealing that 10 of 12 agency offices referenced in the affair are in Washington.

The report repeatedly references actions taken by the Washington-based Exempt Organizations unit and guidance specialists also in Washington. What's more, the report was researched in the Exempt Organizations offices and the Cincinnati-based Determinations Units, which has received the blame for targeting Tea Party groups.

The audit, for example, probes into how the Cincinnati-based Determinations Unit developed its plan to pay attention to groups with the words "Tea Party," "Patriot," and other phrases used by anti-Obama groups during the 2010 election.

Washington-based offices denied involvement, but did change the "criteria" for groups to target in July 2011. Instead of looking for "Tea Party" groups seeking tax exempt status to investigate, the criteria was broadened to "political, lobbying or [general] advocacy."

However, "the team of specialists subsequently changed the criteria in January 2012" back, apparently without telling their bosses. "Specialists" are both Washington- and Ohio- based.

Popular talk radio host Mark Levin, one of the first to post the IG report online, suggested that the House committees investigating the scandal use the IG's "High-Level Organization Chart of Offices Referenced in this Report" on page 29 in picking who should testify. He suggested that the heads of all 12 be called to testify.