A representative of the Internal Revenue Service apologized on Friday for the actions of a group of low-level staffers who unfairly targeted conservative groups for review during the 2012 election. According to the Associated Press, Lois Lerner, director of the IRS unit in charge of tax-exempt organizations, said that the employees worked out of the Cincinnati IRS office and were targeting organizations they believed might be in violation of their tax-exempt status.
Lerner said that the employees singled out applications for tax-exempt status from groups with “Tea Party” and “patriot” in their names, subjecting them to additional reviews. She acknowledged that the extra scrutiny was unfair and apologized during a speech at a Washington, D.C. conference.
Many conservative groups complained about IRS scrutiny during their application process. The anti-tax, anti-federal government organizations believed that they were having to answer too many questions in order to obtain tax-exempt status.
Under federal law, small charitable groups are afforded tax-exempt status so long as they do not conduct political operations as their primary activity.
[image via Flickr user theqspeaks, creative commons licensed]
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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