The Justice Department was investigating circumstances surrounding the disappearance of IRS emails that Republicans believed could shed light on the possible targeting of conservative and other political groups by the agency.
The Justice Department closed its two-year investigation in October 2015. No charges were brought against former IRS official Lois Lerner or anyone else at the agency.
Two hundred ninety-six applications by groups were flagged for further review. About 75 groups had names with "tea party" or "patriot" in them.
Early 2010 - According to the May 2013 Inspector General report, "Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review," the inappropriate targeting of mainly conservative groups begins. This targeting involves delaying the processing of their applications and requesting information deemed unnecessary.
May 2010 - According to the report, "EO function officials stated that, in May 2010, the Determinations Unit began developing a spreadsheet that would become known as the "Be On the Look Out" listing (hereafter referred to as the BOLO listing) "which included the emerging issue of Tea Party applications."
July 2010 - The Determinations Unit asks its specialists to BOLO for Tea Party applications.
2010-2012 - According to the report, action is taken to change the criteria used "for identifying potential political cases" involving groups seeking tax-exempt status approximately five times over a two-year period.
May 2012 - After the IRS is first notified of the practice, the use of some BOLO lists involving conservative labels is stopped.
November 9, 2012 - IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman
leaves office at the end of his term, and Steven Miller, the deputy commissioner, takes his place.
May 10, 2013 - Miller helps engineer an apology by Lerner, the director of the Exempt Organizations Division since January 2006, through a planted question at an American Bar Association meeting.
-- The IRS holds a conference call with reporters where they admit they've made "mistakes"
in the last few years while trying to process requests from groups seeking tax-exempt status.
May 15, 2013 -
Miller is forced to resign
by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew
after it comes to light that he knew about the targeting. It is announced by President Barack Obama
later that day.
May 16, 2013 - Obama chooses a new acting commissioner, Daniel Werfel, who had been the controller of the White House's Office of Management and Budget.
May 22, 2013 -
Lerner invokes her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination
after she denies any wrongdoing in a brief statement to the House Oversight Committee. It is later determined she waived these rights.
-- Shulman denies he knew about the targeting, and when he found out about some of it, he made steps to have it reviewed.
-- Miller claims the targeting happened because of staffers being overworked and not understanding unclear regulations rather than because of political motivations.
May 23, 2013 -
After Lerner refuses to resign, she is placed on administrative leave
, according to Congressional sources in both parties.
June 12, 2013 - Werfel stops the use of all BOLO lists by the tax-exemption unit after learning that some of them were still in use.
June 24, 2013 -
Democratic Congressman Sander Levin of Michigan charges that liberal groups
were targeted by the IRS as well.
September 23, 2013 -
December 20, 2013 - John Koskinen is appointed to the IRS commissioner position.
March 5, 2014 -
Lerner refuses to testify
before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
March 26, 2014 -
before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about how the IRS is going to try and restore public trust when it comes to exempt organizations.
April 10, 2014 -
The Republican-led House Oversight Committee votes 21-12 to charge Lerner
with contempt of Congress.
May 7, 2014 -
Lerner is held in contempt
of Congress by the House.
June 13, 2014 -
IRS informs congress that it is unable to recover Lerner's emails
from January 2009 to April 2011 because of a computer crash. The emails were subpoenaed by the House Oversight Committee Chairman. They have subsequently been able to recover 24,000 of the emails.
June 23-24, 2014 -
The House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform hold two hearings: "IRS Obstruction: Lois Lerner's Missing E-mails: Part I
and Part II
December 23, 2014 -
The sixth report from the House Oversight Committee says that the IRS "systematically targeted" conservative groups
, and places blame on Lerner and seven other IRS officials. According to the report, "The fact-finding is not yet complete." Another 30,000 emails to and from Lerner have been recently recovered which will also be looked at.
March 31, 2015 -
The US Attorney's Office sends a letter to House Speaker John Boehner
notifying him that it won't bring contempt of Congress charges against Lerner.
August 5, 2015 - The Senate Finance Committee concludes its investigation and issues its report.
The findings indicate the division of the IRS that handles tax exempt organizations was mismanaged and unprepared for the surge in applications from new nonprofits affiliated with the Tea Party movement. According to the committee, the delays in processing the applications from conservative groups were due to poor communication and layers of bureaucracy. Additionally, the committee criticized the IRS for losing documents relevant to the case. The data was allegedly lost after Lerner's computer hard drive crashed four years ago. The committee did not uncover evidence of criminal wrongdoing or political conspiracies at the IRS.
October 23, 2015 -
The Justice Department notifies members of Congress that it is closing its two-year investigation
into whether the IRS improperly targeted the tea party and other conservative groups. No charges will be brought against Lerner or anyone else at the agency. Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik says in the letter to Congress that the probe found "substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia leading to the belief by many tax-exempt applicants that the IRS targeted them based on their political viewpoints. But poor management is not a crime."
October 27, 2015 - A group of House Republicans move to impeach Koskinen,
introducing a resolution calling for his ouster.
June 15, 2016 - The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee votes 23-15 to censure Koskinen
as a result of the IRS targeting scandal, calling for his removal from office and the forfeiture of his government pension and other federal benefits he is eligible for.
September 28, 2017 -
The Treasury Inspector General of Tax Administration issues a new report
that finds liberal-leaning groups may have also been subjected to extra scrutiny when they sought tax-exempt status.