Maloney Criticizes IRS for Targeting Tea Party Groups

Tax-exempt applications singled out

By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney Tuesday joined the growing, bipartisan denunciation of Internal Revenue Service targeting of Tea Party groups that desired tax-exempt status.

Sean Patrick Maloney, campaigning for office last year; photo by L.S. Armstrong

Sean Patrick Maloney, campaigning for office last year; photo by L.S. Armstrong

Maloney, a Democrat who represents Philipstown and other parts of the mid-Hudson Valley in the U.S. House of Representatives, released a statement May 14 declaring that “there’s no room for partisanship at the IRS.”

Elected last November, the Philipstown resident said: “I am outraged that Americans were targeted for their political views. Democrats, Republicans and everyone in between knows this was a breach of the public’s trust and I am committed to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to investigate this gross misconduct and ensure the IRS stays out of politics for good.”

A recent Treasury Department investigation found that between 2010 and early 2013 the IRS applied undue scrutiny and demanded inordinate amounts of paperwork from “Tea Party” politically right-of-center organizations that applied to become nonprofit, tax-exempt groups.

According to a Treasury Department report by the office of the inspector general for tax administration, “the IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax‑exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention” — that is, instead of looking for evidence the groups improperly engaged in political campaigning.

The IRS, part of the Treasury Department, responded that it adopted the approach “not out of any political or partisan viewpoint” but from “a desire for efficiency.”

President Obama called the IRS methods “intolerable and inexcusable” and demanded prompt implementation of reforms outlined in the Treasury investigative report. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced a criminal investigation of the matter. Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, proposed prison sentences for IRS employees involved.

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