The Associated Press is reporting today that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has apologized for targeting conservative groups during the 2012 election cycle to see if they were violating the rules of their non-profit status.
The article reports:
IRS agents singled out dozens of organizations for additional reviews because they included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their exemption applications, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. In some cases, groups were asked for lists of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.
I don’t like to accuse the Associated Press of bias, but the article makes a point of noting:
The agency — led at the time by a Bush administration appointee — blamed low-level employees, saying no high-level officials were aware.
The article reports that the excessive scrutiny on groups with the words ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot’ in their name began with ‘low-level’ employees in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias. Really? Then what do you suppose motivated them?
The article further reports:
“Mistakes were made initially, but they were in no way due to any political or partisan rationale,” the IRS said in a statement. “We fixed the situation last year and have made significant progress in moving the centralized cases through our system.”
“I don’t think there’s any question we were unfairly targeted,” said Tom Zawistowski, who until recently was president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, an alliance of tea party groups in the state.
Zawistowski’s group was among many conservative organizations that battled the IRS over what they saw as discriminatory treatment. The group first applied for nonprofit status in June 2009, and it was finally granted on Dec. 7, 2012, he said — one month after Election Day.
This entire story is further proof that Chicago-style politics has truly come to Washington.