House report: IRS targeting works; Tea Party groups effectively suppressed

House report: IRS targeting works; Tea Party groups effectively suppressed

A new report from House Republicans sheds more light on the early stages of tea-party targeting by the Internal Revenue Service, identifying the first three cases sent to Washington for special review in 2010.

The report also underscores the difficulties the targeted groups faced. Two of the three dropped their applications in the face of IRS questioning, the report shows. A third is waiting for a resolution of its case, a spokesman said. …

Although IRS documents showed the agency also was on the lookout for applications by some liberal-leaning groups, “only Tea Party applicants received systematic scrutiny because of their political beliefs,” the new report says. In addition, “public and nonpublic analyses of IRS data show that the IRS routinely approved liberal applications while holding and scrutinizing conservative applications.” …

Both the Prescott group and the Cincinnati group eventually dropped their applications, which sought charitable status under section 501(c)(3) of the tax laws. The founder of the Prescott group, Michael Hendricks, said organizers didn’t feel it was appropriate to disclose detailed information, such as donor identities. The rejection amounted to a “slap in the face,” he said.

The Albuquerque group sought 501(c)(4) status. A spokesman for the Albuquerque group said it is the longest-waiting tea-party group, at about 51 months. “I don’t see much equality under the law there,” said spokesman Rick Harbaugh.

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