Friday, May 10, 2013

IRS Admits to Unfairly Investigating Conservative & Tea Party Groups

I guess sometimes being paranoid doesn't mean they aren't actually out to get you.  The IRS has just admitted to unfairly targeting conservative and Tea Party groups in investigations into their political activities.  Of course they claim that this was not politically biased but given that conservative groups were disproportionately targeted and the investigators were probably Democrats and last year was an election year, I find that hard to believe:

The Internal Revenue Service on Friday acknowledged that it flagged political groups with "tea party" or "patriot" in their names for special scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status, an admission that is fueling long-held suspicions among conservatives that the agency has been singling them out for unfair treatment.

The IRS official who oversees tax-exempt groups, Lois Lerner, said the actions, although not motivated by partisan concerns, were wrong, and she apologized twice on Friday.


She said that between 2010 and 2012, about 75 of these groups were selected for extra screening as part of a broader review of political advocacy organizations that were seeking tax-exempt status. Front-line IRS employees working in the tax-exempt unit in Cincinnati selected groups with "tea party" or "patriot" in their names, she said, as a shorthand because of the proliferation of these groups in recent years.

The employees also requested donor lists from some of the groups and sent questionnaires seeking overly broad information, Lerner acknowledged.

"That's absolutely inappropriate and not the way we ought to do things," Lerner said in a briefing with reporters. "They didn't do it out of any political bias."

Lerner would not say whether any of the IRS employees involved have been disciplined, but she said that new policies have been put in place to prohibit this kind of screening and that, overall, none of the 75 groups have been rejected for approval so far.

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