IRS Admits Targeting “Tea Party” Groups

Some conservative and libertarian groups have long suspected that the Internal Revenue Service has targeted right-leaning non-profits for extra scrutiny, but such allegations were always difficult to prove (and often sounded a bit conspiratorial).  Now, however, the head of the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt organizations has admitted her division targeted “tea party” and “patriot” groups — and apologized for it.  In addition, the IRS apparently asked some groups for donor lists, even though such requests are usually contrary to IRS policy.  (Hat tip: Rick Hasen, whose first comment was”Wow.”)  As they say, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you.

UPDATE: The New York Times offers a decidedly different view. [To be fair, this editorial is from last year.]

SECOND UPDATE: Hasen has posted the IRS statement. “Mistakes were made.”  Hasen comments: “This is not one of the best days for the IRS.  Conservatives are absolutely right to call for a congressional investigation of this one, even if it turns out to be an isolated problem.”

THIRD UPDATE: Here are excerpts from some of the relevant  document requests, and a Congressional inquiry about some of these requests from last year.