IRS Offers Apology for Targeting Conservative Tea Party Groups During Obama Administration
After years of conservative Tea Party groups being bulled at the hands of the IRS on behalf of the Obama administration, the IRS has issued an apology according to Fox News.
The apology came on the heels of Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday that Justice Department had entered into settlements with Tea Party groups that had their tax-exempt status delayed because of their ideology.
“The IRS’s use of these criteria as a basis for heightened scrutiny was wrong and should never have occurred,” Sessions said in a statement Thursday. “It is improper for the IRS to single out groups for different treatment based on their names or ideological positions.”
These settlements included payments to the Tea Party groups, as well as an apology from the IRS.
The IRS targeting of Tea Party groups came to public attention in 2013 when the IRS admitted it was essentially punishing conservatives during the Obama administration through the Exempt Organizations lead by Lois Lerner. Sessions said the IRS targeted groups with the words “Tea Party,” or “Patriot,” or had policy positions that ran afoul of Obama’s administration.
From Fox News:
“The IRS admits that its treatment of Plaintiffs during the tax-exempt determination process, including screening their applications based on their names or policy positions, subjecting those applications to heightened scrutiny and inordinate delays, and demanding some Plaintiffs’ information that TIGTA determined was unnecessary to the agency’s determination of their tax-exempt status, was wrong,” the IRS said in court documents. “For such treatment, the IRS expresses its sincere apology.”
However, lead counsel for the conservative groups Eddie Greim, isn’t satisfied with the apology, thinking it a non-apology along the lines of Lerner’s.
“However, like Lois Lerner’s stated apology back in 2013, any recent so-called ‘apology’ by the IRS has little value. That is because the Service continues to suggest that its targeting was really just ‘mismanagement.’”
“This story was dismantled in our case. For taxpayers to be truly confident that the IRS has changed, it needs to be truthful about its past abuse of power,” added Greim.