Nearly two years after the IRS was exposed for improperly sidetracking requests for tax exemptions from tea party groups, POLITICO has learned that at least a half dozen conservative applicants are still waiting for an answer.
This challenges repeated assertions by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen that his embattled agency has “completed” a set of recommendations to fix the problem and address a backlog of nearly 300 applications, some of which had been pending already for three years.
The groups that are still waiting include Karl Rove’s giant Crossroads GPS, which spent $26 million against Democrats in the last election cycle. But most of the half-dozen are mom-and-pop outfits from New Mexico, Ohio and New Jersey, run by volunteers out of their own houses and operating at a fraction of Crossroads’ budget.
The years-long delay has gutted these groups’ membership, choked their ability to raise funds, forced them to reserve pots of money for possible back taxes, and driven them into debt to pay legal bills.
“If you say the targeting issues have been resolved… how come we still haven’t received a determination one way or the other?” asked Rick Harbaugh, leader of the Albuquerque Tea Party, which has been waiting five years for its tax-exemption.
“We are still being targeted.”