Patriots and Tea Party conservatives: Your suspicions about the IRS were correct.
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The Internal Revenue Service on Friday acknowledged that it flagged political groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names for special scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status, an admission that is fueling long-held suspicions among conservatives that the agency has been singling them out for unfair treatment.
The IRS official who oversees tax-exempt groups, Lois Lerner, said the actions, although not motivated by partisan concerns, were wrong, and she apologized twice on Friday.
She said that between 2010 and 2012, about 75 of these groups were selected for extra screening as part of a broader review of political advocacy organizations that were seeking tax-exempt status. Front-line IRS employees working in the tax-exempt unit in Cincinnati selected groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names, she said, as a shorthand because of the proliferation of these groups in recent years.