The IRS says it subjected Tea Party-affiliated groups to additional scrutiny based solely on the name and stated goals of the organisation. Often,those groups were asked invasive questions about their donor lists,affiliations and contacts with the media questions not routinely asked of other groups seeking tax exemptions.
Sorting into Bucket
The number of applications for tax-exempt social welfare organisations doubled from 2010 to 2012,to 3,400 a year. Thats largely because of a surge in politically oriented groups before the 2012 presidential election and in the wake of favourable court rulings,the IRS says. In response,an IRS unit in Cincinnati began to sort politically oriented groups into a separate bucket of applications.
TEA PARTY GROUPS HARMED
The additional scrutiny held up tax-exempt applications for months,although the IRS says no applications have been denied. Groups caught in this process did not receive IRS documentation,which can provide legitimacy and assist with fundraising. Some conservative groups say their rights to freedom of association were violated through invasive questioning. About 300 groups went into the bucket of applications getting more scrutiny. About a quarter of them were groups that had
Tea Party or Patriot in their names.
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is scheduled to testify on Friday before the House Ways and Means Committee in the first of a series of hearings on the activities of the Internal Revenue Service.