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Obama criticizes IRS in targeting tea party groups

Attorney General Eric Holder was questioned about the Justice Department secretly obtaining telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press during a news conference.

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Attorney General Eric Holder was questioned about the Justice Department secretly obtaining telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press during a news conference.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said a government watchdog’s report shows intolerable and inexcusable behavior by the Internal Revenue Service in targeting tea party groups.

Obama said in a statement that some IRS employees failed to apply the law fairly and impartially.

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Obama said he’s asked Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to hold accountable those responsible and to ensure it never happens again. He said regardless of how it happened, it was wrong.

The report from the Treasury inspector general for tax administration blames ineffective IRS management for allowing agents to improperly target tea party groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax exempt status. It says lax managers allowed the practice to continue for 18 months.

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The IRS on Friday apologized for targeting tea party as well as other conservative groups.

The report said that when asked by investigators, IRS supervisors said the criteria they used to decide which groups they examined were not influenced by people or organizations outside the IRS.

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