TODAY   |  May 15, 2013

Report says IRS ‘inappropriately’ targeted GOP groups

A new report by the IRS inspector general corroborates what conservatives have been alleging: that the IRS unfairly targeted them for extra scrutiny over 18 months. NBC’s Lisa Myers reports.

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>>> the official report is out this morning on another scandal in washington. the irs 's targeting of conservative political groups . nbc's senior investigative correspondent lisa myers has the latest. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning. this report confirms that the irs was targeting them. the report says the irs unit responsible was a mess and that some employees were actually ignorant about tax laws. tea party and conservative groups applying for tax exempt status began being targeted by the irs in 2010 . the report says based upon their names or policy positions. the inspector general's report says the inappropriate criteria was used for 18 months in targeting groups for review, and resulted in substantial delays on applications and unnecessary information requests. the report quotes irs supervisors as saying no one outside the irs asked that conservative groups get extra scrutiny. the president called the findings intolerable and inexcusable and directed that those involved be held accountable.

>> what's most disturbing is the inspector general could not rule out that there was a broader problem including perhaps personal audits or other groups being targeted.

>> reporter: the irs insists while the criteria was inappropriate both liberal and conservative groups were treated equally in determining the ultimate outcome and insists there was no intent to hide the issue, though congress was not told for a year.

>> this is unacceptable and it's immoral. it's the kind of behavior we associate not with the greatest democracy in the world, but with corrupt tin pot dictators.

>> reporter: attorney general eric holder says he's ordered an fbi investigation.

>> i think as everyone can agree those were if not criminal they were certainly outrageous and unacceptab unacceptable. we are examining the facts to see if there were criminal violations.

>> reporter: the irs 's problems got worse this morning with this headline revealing that while conservatives were buried in paperwork, liberal groups got approved easily. for the record the president's spokesman denied the white house had anything to do with any of this. savannah?

>> lisa myers in washington, thank you.