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IRS Denied Existence of Documents Targeting Tea Party 10 Months After They Were Created

IRS Denied Existence of Documents Targeting Tea Party 10 Months After They Were Created

In January, 2011, ten months after the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s report says the IRS first developed policies to target Tea Party groups for more severe scrutiny than other groups, the IRS responded to a FOIA request by denying that any such documents existed.

On Friday, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law released a letter from the IRS dated January 6, 2011, in which IRS employee and disclosure analyst Marie A. Twarog stated there were no documents at the IRS related to policies for processing Tea Party group requests for tax exempt status:

I am responding to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated May 27, 2010 that we received on June 10, 2010.

You asked for documents relating to any training, memos, letters, policies, etc., that details how the “Tax Exempt/Government Entities Division” reviews applications for non-profits, 501(c)(3) and other not for profit organizations specifically mentioning “Tea Party”, “the Tea Party”, and “tea parties”.

I found no documents specifically related to your request. (emphasis added)

This letter appears to be inconsistent with details in the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s report released on Tuesday, which extensively details the policies and documents that existed related to the processing of Tea Party group requests for tax exempt status as far back as March 2010. The report offers a “Comprehensive Timeline of Events” starting in Appendix VII at page 31:

Date: Around March 1

Event: The Determinations Unit Group Manager asked a specialist to search for other Tea Party or similar organizations’ applications in order to determine the scope of the issue. The specialist continued to complete searches for additional cases until the precursor to the BOLO listing was issued in May 2010.

Additional Details: Determinations Unit personnel indicated that they used the description Tea Party as a shorthand way of referring to the group of cases involving political campaign intervention rather than to target any particular group. The specialist used Tea Party, Patriots, and 9/12 as part of the criteria for these searches.

Breitbart News contacted Ms. Twarog, the author of the letter, and Senior Disclosure Specialist Sharon Baker, the contact person listed in the letter, and asked for an explanation of the discrepancy between the letter, which stated no such documents existed, and the Inspector General’s report. Neither Ms. Twarog nor Ms. Baker had responded by the time of this story’s publication.

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