Glen Morgan, the property rights director for the Freedom Foundation, told TPM on Tuesday that the other three public records requests were similar to the Department of Ecology request, although each was tailored to make the search more efficient for the specific agency. The Department for Ecology, for instance, does not have to include electronic records that include the word "conservative," if it pertains to anything about conservation, he said. Morgan said he expects the requests could yield about 50,000 pages.
The requests are a result, Morgan said, of revelations in May that the IRS had targeted political groups applying for tax-exempt status for closer evaluation by screening for key words typically associated with conservative organizations (although later revelations indicated the IRS was using search terms oriented toward progressive and non-partisan groups, too).
"We are not trying to abuse the agencies," Morgan said. "We were kind of interested in seeing if [the IRS targeting] was going on here."
Freedom Foundation has started to get some documents back, although Morgan said they haven't received anything "earth shattering yet," but if they do they "would make it as public as we possibly can" and "encourage the government to behave responsibly."
"This is not uncommon for us," he added. "If we hear a story like that, we like to verify what is going on locally."