Wednesday, August 14, 2013

IRS still hasn't fixed Tea Party problems

WASHINGTON -- Front-line screeners at the Internal Revenue Service don't have any guidance on how to handle tax-exempt applications from political groups in the wake of the Tea Party scandal, an IRS employee told congressional investigators this month.

Without that guidance, the IRS is giving all applications from political advocacy groups a secondary screening. And Tea Party groups are getting a second look whether there's any indication of political advocacy or not.

That's according to an unnamed IRS agent in the Cincinnati office whose desk is the first stop for non-profit groups seeking tax-exempt status. The 15-year IRS employee was interviewed by House Ways and Means Committee investigators behind closed doors August 1. USA TODAY reviewed a redacted transcript of the interview Monday.

House Republicans say the interview shows that the IRS is still targeting Tea Party groups.
"IRS screeners continue to flag certain applications for secondary scrutiny based on name alone," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp, R-Mich., said in a letter Monday to acting IRS commissioner Daniel Werfel. The interview shows that Werfel's efforts to correct the problems in the Exempt Organization Office have failed, Camp said.


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