Econintersect: The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) violated multiple internal policies in 2012 with regard to veviewing tax-exempt status for dozens of groups that had the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications. The IRS maintains that the practcies were originated by low-level workers in Cincinnati. The IRS says there was "no political bias" and the activity was not known to any "high level IRS officials". According to a report by Stephen Ohlemacher (TPM), of the approximately 75 groups targeted, none have been rejected for tax-exampt status.
The IRS has apologized for the activity which they said "was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate."
According to TPM:
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.
Last year the IRS Commissioner told Congress (from TPM):
“There’s absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back and forth that happens to people.” - Douglas Schulman, IRS Commisioner, testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee, March 2012.
George W. Bush appointed Schulman to his post in November 2007. His term ends this coming November.
The Washington Times has statements of condemnation from several congressional Republicans.
The Associated Press reports a statement from the White House calling the activity "inappropriate" and that the matter is being investigated by an inspector general.
- IRS Apologizes For Targeting Conservative Groups In 2012 Election (Stephen Ohlemacher, TPM, 10 May 2013)
- White House said IRS targeting of tea party groups ‘inappropriate’ (Sean Lengell, The Washington Times, 10 May 2013)
- White House: Wrong for IRS to target tea party (Associated Press, Yahoo! News, 10 May 2013)