When leaders of the Franklin County-based Citizens for Responsible Government began seeking tax-exempt status last year, they didn’t anticipate some the problems they would face.
“I guess for a longtime, people have started thinking that maybe we weren’t playing with the same rules,” said James Wyrick, the conservative group’s secretary.
He said the group’s leaders have felt stonewalled by the IRS, unable to get clear answers about what the group was doing wrong in its application.
The Treasury’s Inspector General is due to release a report saying the agency targeted conservative groups either similar to affiliated with the Tea Party.
CNN reported Tuesday, “The report found that for more than 18 months beginning in early 2010 the IRS developed and followed a policy that used ‘inappropriate criteria’ to identify potential political applications and then forwarded those applications to a team of specialists for review.”
President Barack Obama called the behavior “outrageous.” On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced his department has launched a criminal investigation.
The report says conservative groups faced delays and unnecessary questions.
“It did take us by surprise. We were not anticipating having difficulty,” said Wyrick, who added his group is still seeking tax-exempt status.
A spokesman for the Tea Party Patriots of Central Pennsylvania, based in Harrisburg, said his group sought and ultimately was approved for tax-exempt status in 2010. Allen McCormack described the experience as “odd” but said the group was not overtly challenged.
“As a group, we are concerned obviously,” said McCormack.
Ed Mundorf, treasurer of the York County 9/12 Patriots, said he views the scandal less as a partisan issue and more of an issue with big government generally.
“We’re just tired of it. We just want to show people what’s going on. That’s all we’re here to do,” said Mundorf. “The White House basically controls what they want to control. And for them to just say we know nothing about what’s going on is disingenuous.”
Allen Piper, president of Citizens for Responsible Government, said he’s concerned about the chilling effect the scandal could have on groups across the political spectrum.
“I would like to see some heads roll at the top echelon,” said Piper.