Local Tea Party says it was targeted by IRS - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local Tea Party says it was targeted by IRS

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The Honolulu Tea Party says it became a target of IRS harassment because of its conservative political stance.

Yesterday, the acting chief of the IRS was ousted after a scathing inspector general's report found that the agency unfairly held up the tax-exempt applications of a number of Tea Party Groups.

"I definitely believe it was political in nature. What, we're just having rallies and waving the flag saying where's our tax money going," said Adrienne King, chief coordinator for the Honolulu Tea Party, which has about 100 followers.

"I do think the Honolulu Tea Party was singled out."

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz said others involved in the scandal should be fired.

"The people who did this (should be) held accountable ... lose their jobs. If they broke the law they should get prosecuted accordingly," he said.

President Obama also took aim at the IRS and Attorney General Eric Holder is considering criminal charges.

"It's inexcusable -- and Americans are right to be angry about it. And I am angry about it," Obama said.

"I will not tolerate this kind of behavior -- in any agency -- but especially in the IRS."

Adrienne King says the IRS held up her group's applications for nearly two years, even though the process is typically routine.

She said her group received a letter from the IRS last year, asking for lists of speakers at its rallies and copies of their speeches.

"This is what it does when you have people in power that want to really scare you into being quiet and not fighting back," she said.

These delays have prompted dozens of conservative groups to abandon their efforts and disband. But not the Honolulu Tea Party. It obtained its tax-exempt status this March.

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