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IRS Apologizes for Targeting Conservative Groups

posted 5/10/2013 4:04:01 PM |
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The Internal Revenue Service inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status, a top IRS official said Friday.

Organizations were singled out because they included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their applications for tax-exempt status, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups.

In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.

"That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases for further review," Lerner said at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association.

"The IRS would like to apologize for that," she added.

Lerner said the practice was initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias. After her talk, she told The AP that no high level IRS officials knew about the practice.

Agency officials found out about the practice last year and moved to correct it, the IRS said in a statement. The statement did not specify when officials found out.

About 75 groups were inappropriately targeted. None had their tax-exempt status revoked, Lerner said.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called on the White House to investigate.

"Today's acknowledgement by the Obama administration that the IRS did in fact target conservative groups in the heat of last year's national election is not enough," McConnell said. "I call on the White House to conduct a transparent, government-wide review aimed at assuring the American people that these thuggish practices are not under way at the IRS or elsewhere in the administration against anyone, regardless of their political views."

Many conservative groups complained during the election that they were being harassed by the IRS. They accused the agency of frustrating their attempts to become tax exempt by sending them lengthy, intrusive questionnaires.

The forms, which the groups made available at the time, sought information about group members' political activities, including details of their postings on social networking websites and about family members.

Certain tax-exempt charitable groups can conduct political activities but it cannot be their primary activity.

IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman told Congress in March 2012 that the IRS was not targeting groups based on their political views.

"There's absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back and forth that happens to people" who apply for tax-exempt status, Shulman told a House Ways and Means subcommittee.

Shulman was appointed by President George W. Bush. His 6-year term ended in November. President Barack Obama has yet to nominate a successor. The agency is now being run by acting Commissioner Steven Miller.

"The Ways and Means Committee has persistently pushed the IRS to explain why it appeared to be unfairly targeting some political groups over others — a charge they repeatedly denied," said Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., chairman of the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee.

"The IRS's 'too little too late' response is unacceptable, and I will continue to work to ensure there are protections in place so no American, regardless of political affiliation, has their right to free speech threatened by the IRS," Boustany said.

Tea Party groups were livid on Friday.

ABC News

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Comments:

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manwithoutahorse

May 10 @ 5:26PM  
A pattern of behavior that over the last 4 years should give people pause to think about how our fundamental liberties are endangered.

They were warned.
THEDrcocktail

May 11 @ 5:09AM  
Let's forget the profiling. The IRS does not have the LEGAL authority or the constitutional rights to target ANY SPECIFIC GROUP. What they just did was ILLEGAL. GOT IT....AGAINST THE LAW OF THE LAND! Who allowed it? Whose responsible......hell, in this day and political environment THERE ARE NO LAWS, and resposibility is just a misspelled word. All Hail The King! More taxes from the workers (not just the wealthy), more hand outs to the leeches. Chicago should be our next Capitol, crime rate, death rate, corruption.....Nah, never happen as long as they have the Cubs.
TwistAndShout

May 11 @ 7:33AM  
Let's forget the profiling. The IRS does not have the LEGAL authority or the constitutional rights to target ANY SPECIFIC GROUP. What they just did was ILLEGAL. GOT IT....AGAINST THE LAW OF THE LAND! Who allowed it? Whose responsible......hell, in this day and political environment THERE ARE NO LAWS, and resposibility is just a misspelled word. All Hail The King! More taxes from the workers (not just the wealthy), more hand outs to the leeches. Chicago should be our next Capitol, crime rate, death rate, corruption.....Nah, never happen as long as they have the Cubs.

Maybe you should send them anonymous, threatening emails, doc.
Wordsofwit

May 11 @ 7:47AM  
Chicago should be our next Capitol, crime rate, death rate, corruption.....Nah, never happen as long as they have the Cubs.

Why can't the Cubs get on the Internet?

They can't string together three W's
TwistAndShout

May 11 @ 7:50AM  
They can't string together three W's

StraddleMyNose

May 13 @ 2:31PM  
If the libs think Obama had nothing to do with the IRS actions targeting conservative groups, I have a bridge I would like to sell them.

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IRS Apologizes for Targeting Conservative Groups