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The Boston Globe

Politics

In IRS abuses, GOP sees chance to regain stage

Details surface on targeting of Tea Party groups

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service’s special scrutiny of small-government groups applying for tax-exempt status went beyond keyword hunts for organizations with ‘‘Tea Party’’ or ‘‘patriot’’ in their names to a more overtly ideological search for applicants seeking to ‘‘make America a better place to live’’ or ‘‘criticize how the country is being run,’’ according to a part of an inspector general’s report given to Capitol Hill.

The head of the division on tax-exempt organizations, Lois Lerner, was briefed on the effort in June 2011, seemingly contradicting her assertion on Friday that she learned of the effort from the press. But she seemed to work hard to rein in the focus on conservatives and change it to a look at political advocacy groups of any stripe seeking tax exemptions.

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