This is getting real.

Yesterday it was just some “low level” employees involved. Now AP is reporting that senior IRS officials were aware of the targeting, via AP, IRS watchdog: Senior IRS officials knew in 2011 tea parties’ tax-exempt status being targeted (h/t @GabrielMalor):

WASHINGTON (AP) — IRS watchdog: Senior IRS officials knew in 2011 tea parties’ tax-exempt status being targeted.

(added) AP has expanded its report now (h/t reader):

A federal watchdog’s upcoming report says senior Internal Revenue Service officials knew agents were targeting tea party groups in 2011.

The disclosure contradicts public statements by former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, who repeatedly assured Congress that conservative groups were not targeted.

On Friday, the IRS apologized for what it acknowledged was “inappropriate” targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if those groups were violating their tax-exempt status.

The Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration is expected to release the results of a nearly yearlong investigation in the coming week.

The Associated Press obtained part of the draft report.

That report says the head of the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups learned that groups were being targeted in June 2011. It does not say whether Shulman was notified.

Remember, you’re not paranoid, they really do hate you. At the highest levels.

As IRS admits it targeted Tea Party groups, remember IRS is Obamacare enforcer.

UPDATE: The AP story is ever-expanding in its detail. H/t Ed Morrissey on this part:

Among the other revelations, on Aug. 4, 2011, staffers in the IRS’ Rulings and Agreements office “held a meeting with chief counsel so that everyone would have the latest information on the issue.”

On Jan, 25, 2012, the criteria for flagging suspect groups was changed to, “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement,” the report says.

Got that? The Chief Counsel knew, and in an election year the targeting expanded to groups educating people on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The Democrats and media demonized the Tea Party and Homeland Security painted smaller government groups as potential threats, and guess who gets targeted by the IRS.

 
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