Did your left leaning friends kid you when you talked about a conspiracy against the Tea Party? Did they tell you that the investigations of right wing groups was normal, or maybe a figment of your imagination?
Well, you were right. This week the IRS has formally apologized to groups it unfairly chose for investigation during the 2012 election cycle. Apparently, groups with Patriot or Tea Party in their name were singled out by agents who chose to scrutinize them regarding their tax exempt status.
The head of the IRS Exempt Status Division, Lois Lerner recently explained what happened at a conference:
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 went on to explain that the procedure was initiated by low-level staff in Ohio and that no high level staff were aware of the actions.
Through the election period many conservative groups complained that they were being targeted unfairly, some even that they were being harassed by the IRS. The targeted groups accused the agency of delaying their status to become tax exempt by sending lengthy and personal questionnaires which asked for information about member political activities, posts on social networks and requested data on family members.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, 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.”
Of course, it’s easy to apologize now. The election is over. But, you weren’t paranoid.
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