IRS targeted 2 Georgia tea party groups | www.myajc.com

15
May

IRS targeted 2 Georgia tea party groups | www.myajc.com

The FBI has launched a criminal investigation into how the Internal Revenue Service unduly scrutinized and excessively delayed applications for nonprofit status from tea party groups, including at least two based in Georgia.

An inspector general’s report leaked Tuesday provided new details to the unfolding scandal, finding that the IRS used “inappropriate criteria” to flag groups for extra scrutiny for having such words as “tea party” and “patriot” in their names for 18 months before it was changed in May 2012, and that some applications were delayed more than three years, crossing two election cycles.

Leaders from the Woodstock-based Tea Party Patriots, a national umbrella group, and the Cobb County-based Georgia Tea Party told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that they faced invasive questioning about the groups’ members, funding and political ties.

The groups were newly formed and applying for the 501(c)4 designation from the IRS as a tax-exempt “social welfare group.” By law such groups are not allowed to engage in political activity as their primary focus. The tea party groups see such questioning as political harassment for opposing the Obama administration, and key members of Congress from both parties have vowed a fuller inquiry.

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