On July 10th, the IRS held a press conference to formally apologize for elements and/or individuals within the organization who they now admit were specifically targeting conservative organizations during the 2012 election season for additional scrutiny. Any organization using the title “tea” or “patriot” was flagged for a review of their tax returns. Of the 300 organizations flagged for scrutiny in Cincinnati, 75 of them were conservative organizations identifying with the tea party movement.
But this is not the worst part of the problem. There’s good evidence that, across multiple states, conservative organizations were targeted by the IRS in numerous ways. From unusually long questionnaires demanding membership rosters and donor lists, to warning letters sent out to donors suggesting that their contributions to 501(c) groups could be retroactively taxed. And all this right as the 2012 election season began to heat up.
Could this be seen by some as an attempt to chill political speech? Of course. Even liberal NY Time opinion columnist Maureen Dowd agrees with this!