IRS staff members were “acutely aware” in 2010 that the president wanted to see conservative groups targeted, according to an interim report being circulated by congressional investigators.

The report stops short of identifying any politicians who may have ordered the harassment of Tea Party and other conservative groups applying for nonprofit status, but it says oddly that agents of the IRS were “aware” that they should single out such groups and forward many of them to a particular office.

Further, the report strangely says that the agents were encouraged by media reports making fun of the Tea Party and other conservatives.

The report prepared by staffers for Rep. Darrell Issa and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee quoted two IRS sources as saying that conservative groups were targeted because “they were likely to attract media attention” that would be unfavorable to President Obama.

In the report, IRS officials deny any political motivation or receiving orders from any politician. But the investigators show that the IRS at the very least was taking “cues” from politicians’ comments in the media when they designed a program to screen out conservative applications and forward some of them to headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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