FIRST ON 3: Local Tea Party targeted by IRS
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- Documents show IRS agents took an extra look at groups like Tea Party chapters, so-called "patriot groups" and others who spoke out against the government.
Gregg Juster with the Chattanooga Tea Party says, "I believe we are feared. We are feared by this government because we believe in freedom."
On Monday, Juster told Channel 3 it took nearly three years for the local party to receive tax exempt status, a process that normally takes six months to a year.
Even that came with demands from the IRS Juster calls outrageous.
"They came with questions that would just make you say, what," he says.
The IRS asked the local Tea Party for information regarding membership, all donors, and even a year's worth of Facebook posts, as first reported by Channel 3 earlier this week.
Local Tea Party president Mark West says the requests didn't stop there.
"They wanted all of the handouts we had ever given out at any meetings," West says. "We probably don't have all those handouts."
The IRS did apologize for its actions, though reports show top advisors knew about this as far back as 2011.
In a statement, senator Bob Corker (R)-TN says the IRS' actions were "disturbing."
West says, "I don't accept an apology and it is not because I am not a forgiving person."
West says the move sorely targeted conservatives, writing about it on his daily blog.
He believes it was all politically motivated.
"Anyone in their right mind knows that is false. It was completely motivated," he says. "What other motivation would it be?"
Today our news partners at the Times Free Press reported on an inspector general's report and documents that indicated the IRS subjected the Chattanooga Tea Party to "unnecessary" questioning and "significant processing delays" in the group's request for for nonprofit status.