An 18-month congressional investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s mistreatment of conservative political groups seeking tax exemptions failed to show coordination between agency officials and political operatives in the White House, according to a report released on Tuesday. The I.R.S. has admitted that before the 2012 election it inappropriately delayed approval of tax exemption applications by groups affiliated with the Tea Party movement, but the I.R.S. and its parent agency, the Treasury Department, have said that the errors were not motivated by partisanship. Republican lawmakers, dismissing the Obama administration’s denials, have suggested that the delays were not only politically motivated but also orchestrated by the White House. Some of the most strident comments have come from Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California and the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which has issued subpoenas to compel testimony from administration officials and held a series of tumultuous hearings on the I.R.S. scandal.
Mr. Issa, who is stepping down from the chairmanship, has accused the I.R.S. commissioner of engaging in a Watergate-style cover-up and accused administration officials of obstructing his investigation. In a parting shot, Mr. Issa released the 226-page summary of the panel’s findings on Tuesday. It said that language used in emails collected by the committee suggested that I.R.S. officials in the tax-exemption unit were trying to find ways to penalize groups they disliked.
In one email, for example, an I.R.S. official said of a conservative group, “I think there may be a number of ways to deny them,” adding, “This sounds like a bad org,” and “This org gives me an icky feeling.”
In all, the investigation’s millions of documents and dozens of interviews with Obama administration officials “show I.R.S. officials failed to limit their professional judgments to enforcing the tax code and instead inserted their own beliefs and judgments into federal matters to influence outcomes and decisions,” the report said.