The Internal Revenue Service decided to target conservative groups for higher scrutiny while processing mainstream liberal groups without incident a review of IRS data shows. The IRS had already confirmed earlier allegations of political bias.

As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with liberal-sounding names had their applications approved in as little as nine months. With names including words like “Progress” or “Progressive,” the liberal groups applied for the same tax status and were engaged in the same kinds of activities as the conservative groups.

But whether these groups were simply Democrat partisans posing as progressives or actual progressives remains unclear as some groups on the left were heavily scrutinized if they self-identified as “independent.”

Some liberal groups did get additional scrutiny, although they still got their tax-exempt status while the Tea Party moratorium was in effect. For the “independent progressive” group Action for a Progressive Future, which runs the Rootsaction.org web site, the tax-exempt process took 18 months and also involved intrusive questions.

The question remains – who ordered this? The IRS has apologized for playing politics with the process and has blamed “low-level workers” for the systemic abuse. This, I take it, means these low-level workers did this on their own initiative? The plural use of the word worker and the systematic nature of the abuse clearly indicates a coordinated effort. How many people were in on it? How high is low-level?

The IRS’ troubled history with political persecution is already familiar to many Americans as Congress will soon be investigating this latest abuse of power. Even the Justice Department is taking a break from spying on journalists to investigate the IRS. What other political activities is the IRS up to? We may soon find out.