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Investigator: No sign progressives mistreated

WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department watchdog who detailed Internal Revenue Service mistreatment of tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status says he has no evidence the IRS also mishandled progressive groups’ applications.

In a letter obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, the inspector general for tax administration, J. Russell George, acknowledged that the term “Progressives” appeared on a list of terms used by IRS screeners from 2010 to 2012 to look for applicants with potential problems that would merit close scrutiny.

But George said there was no evidence the IRS set aside progressive groups’ applications because they appeared on that list.

George said his investigators have “multiple sources of information corroborating,” including interviews with IRS employees, emails and other documents, that tea party groups’ applications were set aside for care examinations.

But he added, “We found no indication in any of these other materials that “Progressives” was a term used to refer cases for scrutiny for political campaign intervention.”