Tea Party activists reject IRS explanation for tax-exempt reviews
Greg Noble, WCPO Digital
7:58 PM, May 10, 2013
3:48 PM, May 16, 2013
CINCINNATI - Two local Tea Party members don't believe the IRS – not when it blames low-level Cincinnati workers for singling out conservative groups for added reviews of their tax-exempt application.
"I don't believe a word of that. There's no way," George Brunemann, who leads the Tea Party on the west side of Cincinnati, told 9 On Your Side reporter Scott Wegener on Friday.
Justin Binik-Thomas, who helped form the Cincinnati Tea Party, has seen what the IRS can do. When the Liberty Township Tea Party applied to the IRS, it got back a form with 35 questions regarding the nature of its organization, even asking for the resumes of all its officers.
Question No. 26 was this:
"Provide details regarding your relationship to Justin Binik-Thomas."
"It's definitely a politically motivated question, and the IRS has admitted that today," said Binik-Thomas, of Deer Park.
IRS agents singled out dozens of organizations for additional reviews because they included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their exemption applications, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups.
Lerner apologized and said higher-ups didn't know what was going on in the Cincinnati IRS office. She said workers were trying to streamline the process for reviewing tax-exempt status and there was no political bias involved.
"That's the only reason it was done, for political and partisan rationale," said Brunemann, of Green Township.
Brunemann said the order must have come from President Barack Obama or someone in the Oval Office.
"Him or his people, absolutely," Brunemann said. "There's no doubt in my mind this was a coordinated attack."