Invasive or appropriate? 20 questions the IRS asked conservative groups
On May 10, the IRS apologized for targeting conservative organizations for extra scrutiny on tax exemption applications, validating a longstanding claim of conservatives, setting off new reports of additional targeting and leaked confidential information and leading to the resignation of the Acting IRS Commissioner.
In the initial apology, given by Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups, Lerner said IRS agents singled out groups with words like "tea party" or "patriot" in their tax exemption applications. The practice, she said, occurred in 2012 and was initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati.
However, additional information indicates that the IRS began targeting conservative groups in 2010 and that senior IRS officials in Washington knew of the practice, ABC and The Washington Post reported.
Although Lerner said about 300 groups were originally targeted, news reports suggest that 500 may be a better estimate. According to a timeline of IRS actions released by ABC News, the criteria for targeting changed multiple times, from things like tea party groups to things like "political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the constitution and bill of rights, social economic reform/movement."
The Inspector General report, released Thursday, indicated that after the Champaign Tea Party's tax-exempt status was approved in February 2012, no other tea party group applications were cleared for 27 months, USA Today reported. At the same time, the paper said, "groups with liberal-sounding names had their applications approved in as little as nine months."
Here are some of the questions that the IRS sent to groups seeking non-profit status.
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