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Waco Tea Party Says It Was Targeted By IRS
Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:13 PM CDT
The scandal at the Internal Revenue Services is not blowing over. Questions are coming from all sectors, asking who knew about the IRS interrogating Tea Party and conservative groups that asked for tax-exempt status.
One of those groups is headquartered in Waco. The Waco Tea Party has tax exempt status now, but members said they spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours gathering the requested information.
We obtained a letter they received from the IRS with two full pages of additional requests. Those include radio show transcripts that members were apart of and detailed information about every speaker and contributor.
"It seems absurd they're asking for this information," said Michael Simon, Cofounder of the Waco Tea Party. "My mind was blown."
He told KEYE TV it took two years before the IRS granted his group tax-exempt status.
"We're just a handful of people here in Waco, Texas and it costs a lot of money to do these things and we wanted to make sure we were going about it the correct and legal way," Simon explained.
After applying, Simon said he waited for months without any response from the IRS.
"Our treasurer checked our mailbox on a daily basis for a long, long time and it was just infuriating," he said.
About a year later, Simon told KEYE TV the IRS sent the letter asking for more, detailed information.
"They wanted to know if we had a guest speaker at an event, what were they talking about, what were they doing there, who is this person and what is their contact information," he explained.
Simon said not only did it take a long time to gather the info; it also changed how the Waco Tea Party operated.
"We didn't know what was going to get us in trouble or not, so we really had to tamp down what we were doing in 2012, leading up to a very important election. I don't know if it affected the results of the election. The results were fairly strong."
Simon does believe the IRS targeted groups like his with intent and now wants more than an apology.
"What would be an appropriate apology is if action was taken," he explained. "I personally would like to see a full investigation into the matter."
An investigation is underway, with the results expected to be released later this week.
President Barack Obama also said on Monday he wants the IRS staff held fully accountable for their actions.
By Katherine Stolp