Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Attorney General to investigate IRS targeting of conservative groups

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 14th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered an investigation into Internal Revenue Service political targeting of some conservative groups. "The FBI is coordinating with the Justice Department to see if any laws were broken," he told reporters. Even if none were, the actions "were certainly outrageous and unacceptable," Holder added.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The IRS has since admitted that the staff of its Cincinnati office engaged in such activity. Documents suggest at least three other IRS offices did the same.

IRS officials in both Washington and California IRS officials contacted conservative groups to demand more information before approving the groups' requests for tax-exempt status.

A legal group representing numerous conservative organizations called American Center for Law and Justice provided CNN with four such letters: one each from IRS offices in Washington; Cincinnati; El Monte, California, and Laguna Niguel, California. The words "patriots" or "tea party" figured in the names of each group that received the letter.

Lois Lerner, director of tax exempt organizations for the IRS, said last week that the IRS had targeted some groups for further review as they had those words in their names. Lerner said the activity took place at the IRS office in Cincinnati that handles most applications for 501(c)(4) status.

In addition, a draft report from the inspector general for the IRS says that agents were on the lookout to give special scrutiny to groups with "tea party" and "patriots" in their names. Groups criticizing "how the country is being run" were also being targeted by the IRS.

In January 2012, the criteria was revised as "political action-type organizations involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement." According to the report, IRS officials knew about the targeting of conservative groups in June 2011 -- and that the practice began as early as March 2010.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday that he's "confident" no one at the White House was involved in the practice. Carney said he is "sure some people knew about the stories. But we were not aware of any activity or any review by the inspector general."

Obama called the IRS' alleged actions "outrageous" and said personnel involved "have to be held accountable." Some Republicans criticized the president for not speaking out on the issue immediately. He said he learned about it through news reports late last week.


 

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)