VIRGINIA

Local tea party organizer says IRS targeted his group

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A local tea party group organizer says the admission by the IRS that it targeted tea party groups is not a surprise to him -- the only difference is now more people believe him.

"A lawyer actually called me and apologized yesterday," said Ron Wilcox of the Northern Virginia Tea Party Sunday. "He'd thought I was being paranoid."

The IRS admitted on Friday it had targeted conservative groups during the 2012 election and made them go through extra steps to prove they weren't violating their tax status.

Wilcox says one tea party affiliated group in Virginia had to spend 250 man hours on paperwork that amounted to 800 pages.

He says it's outrageous that tea party groups were made to do this while non-conservative groups were not.

"Everyone believes that all citizens should be treated the same by their government," Wilcox said. "This is a classic example of the government picking and choosing who they want to help and hurt."

Wilcox says his group didn't have the time and money to fight the IRS, and as a result is not classified as a 501(c)4 organization. He says not having the designation has cost his group donations.

On Friday the IRS apologized for targeting tea party groups and blamed the matter on low-level employees, claiming no high-level employees knew about it.

But the Associated Press is reporting it has obtained the draft of a watchdog report that contradicts what the IRS said. According the the AP, the report says that senior IRS officials knew tea party groups were being targeted by IRS agents as early as two years ago.

"I don't care if you're a conservative, a liberal, a Democrat or a Republican, this should send a chill up your spine," Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Arkansas said on Fox News Sunday this week. "This is something that we cannot let stand. It needs to have a full investigation."

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