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IRS Head: Inappropriate Screening Was Broader, Lasted Longer

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Danny Werfel, acting IRS commissioner, speaks during House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, on Capitol Hill, on June 6, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Danny Werfel, acting IRS commissioner, speaks during House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, on Capitol Hill, on June 6, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the Internal Revenue Service says inappropriate screening of groups seeking tax-exempt status was broader and lasted longer than was previously disclosed.

Danny Werfel told reporters Monday that after becoming acting IRS chief last month, he discovered inappropriate and wide-ranging criteria in lists screeners use to single out groups for careful examinations. He did not specify what terms were on the lists.

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.

Werfel said he has suspended use of those lists. Investigators have previously said agency officials abolished targeting of conservative groups in 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.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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