Phoenix tea party group plans to sue IRS - Tucson News Now

Phoenix tea party group plans to sue IRS

(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A Phoenix based political group is at the center of the growing IRS scandal, in which administrators have admitted the agency targeted conservative groups for additional scrutiny.

The scandal comes as no surprise to Arizona State Representative Kelly Townsend, (R) East Mesa, who is president of the Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriots.

"We've been waiting for three and a half years. We knew we were being targeted. It was a validation of what we always knew," says Townsend.

The Phoenix based group initially applied for tax exempt status in January of 2010. Leaders received no correspondence from the IRS until February 2012, two years and a month later.

"You've got three weeks to give us every transcript of every politician who has spoken to your group. You have to tell us what your views are on various issues," says Townsend, describing the demand letter she received from the IRS.

IRS inspectors also asked for copies of every page from the groups website, including blog entries and comment pages.

"I was like that's really none of their business what my position is on various issues," says Townsend.

The American Center for Law and Justice announced today it plans to file a federal lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of the Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriots organization and nine others throughout the country.

The ACLJ released a brief statement to CBS 5 News saying:

"The lawsuit will focus on constitutional issues as well as damages incurred by the organizations - groups that have received tax-exempt status and groups that are still pending. We will also represent new clients that have approached us since the IRS admitted to its intimidation strategy."

Hearings continued in Washington, DC, today over the IRS scandal. Members of Congress ripped into the former IRS Acting Commissioner, Steven Miller.

"This is a huge blow to the faith and trust the American people have in their government," said Rep. Mike Kelly, (R) Pennsylvania.

Lead counsel for the ACLJ spoke Friday evening on CNBC.

"The idea this went on with rogue agents and no one is reporting to anybody is nonsense. There's a lot of lying going on here. We need to call it what it is," said Jay Sekulow with the American Center for Law and Justice.

Sekulow sent a demand letter to the IRS Monday giving them until the end of the week to approve the Phoenix group's tax exempt status or face a federal lawsuit.

The IRS did not respond.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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