The Indiana Tea Party was among the numerous conservative groups unfairly targeted by the IRS over the past three years, that according to the group’s president.
Ken Johnson said the Indiana Tea Party applied for non-rofit status through the IRS in 2011, but didn’t hear anything for 10 months. When the IRS did finally respond, it requested extensive information, which included copies of everything ever posted to the group’s website and distributed at rallies.
“It was just things that we couldn’t produce,” Johnson said. “My determination was that we were just being led down a path that would just distract us form doing some of the primary work that we intended to do across the state.”
The IRS has now admitted that the Cincinnati office that handles tax-exempt applications, did target groups with words like “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names by selecting them for higher levels of scrutiny, which delayed approval for months.
Attorney General Eric Holder promised a criminal inquiry into the scandal and on Wednesday, President Obama announced that the acting commissioner had resigned.
“Americans have a right to be angry about it,” Obama said. “And I am angry about it. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS.”
The president of the Indiana Tea Party said he’s surprised a top official lost their job, but he said that’s the only thing that surprises him.
“I don’t feel any different today than I felt a year ago,” Johnson said. “To me, the IRS answered what we have believed all along.”
The Indiana Tea Party was eventually approved for nonprofit status last month, even though they never submitted the additional paperwork.
Johnson said the scandal didn’t hurt the Indiana Tea Party in a significant way, but he is concerned about the situation moving forward.
“Obviously, if you can do it to a conservative today, would they do it to you tomorrow?” Johnson said.