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Tea Party Patriots Slam IRS: Targeting 'Still Going On'

Tea Party Patriots Slam IRS: Targeting 'Still Going On'
(Chuck Myers/MCT/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 23 December 2014 05:01 PM EST

The Tea Party Patriots on Tuesday slammed the IRS after a House oversight panel released its report, saying that the agency moved to scrutinize conservative groups by Democrats calling for tighter regulation of nonprofits' political activities.

"There is no question that the IRS as an agency, and its leaders individually, directed and implemented a scheme to silence and demoralize tea party groups," said Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Atlanta-based group. "We knew it was going on before Congress and the Treasury inspector general confirmed it.

"The truth is that it is still going on," Martin said. "The IRS still plans to defy the will of hundreds of thousands of Americans by its plot to reissue cumbersome regulations early next year that will likely be little different from the regulations they proposed a year ago to shut down citizen free speech."

Rep. Darrell Issa, in his final act as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, released a report Tuesday saying that IRS officials were swayed by Democrats calling for stronger regulations on nonprofits that had become more involved in politics.

The 210-page report blamed senior IRS executives for failing to tell Congress what they knew about these efforts.

"Nearly five years after the IRS first began targeting conservative organizations for additional scrutiny due to their political beliefs, the agency has still not escaped the shadow of its misdeeds and abuse of power," the report said.

Issa's committee was among several on Capitol Hill investigating the IRS' scrutiny of tea party, conservative and religious groups. The Senate Finance Committee also is investigating, as well as the Justice Department.

The screening occurred when the groups applied for tax-exempt status. It generally involved lengthy delays and detailed requests for information.

The scrutiny started in 2010 and continued to just before the 2012 presidential election.

The Tea Party Patriots was among the groups targeted. Other groups included True the Vote, the Houston group that combats election fraud, and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, a nonprofit political group advised by Republican strategist Karl Rove.

The IRS division that processed the applications was headed by Lois Lerner, who retired in September 2013 because of the scandal. She had been held in contempt of Congress for refusing to twice testify before Issa's committee.

According to Issa's report, investigators reviewed 1.3 million pages of documents and interviewed 52 officials.

Issa, a California Republican, is stepping down as chairman of the oversight panel because of term limits. He will be succeeded by Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who will continue the investigation.

"We want the IRS and Treasury to hear us loud and clear: we are not going away," Martin said. "We will not be silenced, and we will continue to fight every effort they devise to target and intimidate our movement."

She said he hoped that the GOP-controlled Congress that takes office next month "will pass legislation to rein in the out-of-control IRS once and for all."

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The Tea Party Patriots on Tuesday slammed the IRS after a House oversight panel released its report, saying that the agency moved to scrutinize conservative groups by Democrats calling for tighter regulation of nonprofits' political activities.
Tea Party Patriots, IRS, scandal, conservative groups
490
2014-01-23
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 05:01 PM
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