WASHINGTON — Gary Johnston thought the questions the Internal Revenue Service was asking seemed overly intrusive, even for an agency known for being irritatingly meticulous.
When he showed the federal tax agency’s demands to an accountant, her response confirmed his suspicions. “Her first question was, ‘Who did you make angry?’” Johnston recalled. “She said, ‘There is something wrong here. A lot of these questions are illegal.’”
Johnston feels absolutely certain that his organization, the Roane County Tea Party, was one of dozens of conservative groups the IRS has admitted to singling out for extra scrutiny when reviewing their applications for tax-exempt status. Today and Friday, he will be in Washington with other tea party officials from across the country to draw attention to their tangles with the tax agency.
Johnston said it took the Roane County Tea Party roughly 37 months to be granted non-profit, tax-exempt status — a process that normally should have taken about four months.
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