Among the requests for more information: Describe in detail any legislative activities, with percentage of time and money devoted. Explain the following programs: sisterhood/brotherhood, networking, collaboration with other organizations, loving and caring, and commitment and service.
As for "occupied territory" advocacy groups like Ms. Schwarz's, an I.R.S. "be on the lookout" list warned screeners that "applications may be inflammatory, advocate a one-sided point of view, and promotional materials may signify propaganda."
Some Congressional Democrats say the new details show that the initial reaction to the I.R.S. findings was skewed.
"We replaced the leadership of the I.R.S. over this. We have subpoenas out. We are deposing employees. And we have damaged the president," said Representative Gerald E. Connolly, Democrat of Virginia and a member of the House committee that initiated the I.R.S. inquiry. "It turns out this has been a gross distortion of reality."
Even with the narrative muddied, most Republicans see no reason to back off. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last week voted along party lines that an I.R.S. official, Lois Lerner, had waived her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination by offering a brief statement as she invoked the amendment when she appeared before the committee in May. The vote paves the way for the committee to bring Ms. Lerner back for more questioning.
Republican investigators say conservative groups singled out by the I.R.S. have received far rougher treatment than liberal groups.
Yet some Republicans have tempered their statements on the controversy.
"We haven't proved political motivation," said Representative Charles Boustany Jr., a Louisiana Republican who, as the chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, is leading one inquiry.
Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, said that in retrospect, suggestions that Mr. Obama had orchestrated an I.R.S. attack on his political enemies were unwarranted.
"Presidents have always been very careful about maintaining the appearance of keeping hands off the I.R.S.," he said. "I don't have any reason to believe there wasn't targeting of conservatives, but it might well have been a lot more than that as well."
Groups that produce and disseminate open source software — which is distributed at no cost to anyone for further software development — may have had it the roughest. A recent I.R.S. "be on the lookout" list warned screeners that such software groups "are usually the for-profit business or for-profit support technicians of the software."
"If you see a case, elevate it to your manager," the list orders.
That entreaty has proved to be the kiss of death, said Mr. Villa, of the Open Source Initiative. One group seeking a tax exemption was making software as a tool for political dissent abroad — with the blessing of the United States government. Another was making software, free, for struggling musicians seeking to distribute their work on the Internet. They were both rejected, unlike most of the political groups, which have secured their tax exemptions.
(Read More: Republican IRS Agent Says Cincinnati Began 'Tea Party' Inquiries)
"None of the groups have been able to find the magic words to get over the hurdle," Mr. Villa said.
Jesse von Doom, whose group CASH Music seeks to help musicians on the Internet, applied for 501(c)(3) status in February 2009. Finally, in June 2012, his application was rejected in a 13-page letter signed by Ms. Lerner, the I.R.S.'s director of tax-exempt organizations, who has been put on administrative leave.
Democrats are now aiming their anger at J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, whose audit in May helped make the controversy public. That audit focused on the targeting of groups that had "Tea Party," "patriot" or "9/12" in their names.
Democrats say that they examined the 298 applications reviewed by the inspector general, and that some of them were from liberal groups. But Mr. George's audit did not mention them.
Mr. George's staff said he reviewed all the applications that the I.R.S. identified as potentially involving political groups, not just those from Tea Party groups. But the inspector concluded that only conservative groups got the extra scrutiny.
"When you serve in this capacity, you have to make determinations that, on occasions, upset people," Mr. George said in a statement. "This obviously is one of those occasions."