The documents were made available following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch in 2015.
The FOIA request was made following a scandal in 2013, that revealed the US Internal Revenue Service had selected political groups applying for tax-exempt status for intensive scrutiny based on their names or political themes. The revelation led to wide condemnation of the agency and prompted several investigation, including an FBI order by the US Attorney General Eric Holder.BREAKING NEWS ? Judicial Watch Obtains 695 Pages of Obama IRS Scandal Documents. [First Batch of 7,000-Page Cache] https://t.co/Tsncn9ECfo— Judicial Watch ???? (@JudicialWatch) April 4, 2017
Initial reports described the selection as nearly exclusively targeting conservative groups with terms such as “Tea Party” in their names but later it was found that some liberal groups were also selected for additional review.
In January 2014, the FBI told Fox News that its investigation had found no evidence so far warranting the filing of federal criminal charges in connection with the controversy, as it had not found any evidence of “enemy hunting”, and that the investigation continued. On October 23, 2015, the Justice Department declared that no criminal charges would be filed.