Ottawa Co. Tea Party Group Claims Discrimination By IRS - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Ottawa Co. Tea Party Group Claims Discrimination By IRS


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) - Amid ongoing controversy over allegations that the Internal Revenue Service spent years targeting conservative groups that were applying for tax exemptions, an Ottawa County Tea Party group says it too is being discriminated against by the IRS.


6 News spoke to the head of the Ottawa County Patriots Wednesday. He said the group is stuck in limbo, waiting to hear back from the IRS about the status of the non-profit application the group filed in August 2011, but never heard a word about. The group decided to re-file eight months later, in April 2012.

This time, the IRS cashed the organization's $400 application fee check and sent letters saying it would approve or deny the application within 90 days. However, 13 months later, they still haven't heard a word.

Biz Central USA, which is the organization that helped the tea party file its non-profit application, called the process simple and even said it would pay the group back if its application was denied. Simple, not so much, but a fate that still waits to be discovered.

"They guaranteed we would not be rejected. They didn't say when, because that's out of their control. But we just keep getting these letters and we don't get returned phone calls. We've reached out to them dozens of times. Sometimes we never get through to them. Sometimes they never return our calls. But we have three of these letters," said Ottawa County Patriots Organizer Jim Chiodo.

Chiodo said when the group found out about the current IRS scandal, it only confirmed what they had been hearing rumors of for months. He heads to Washington D.C. for a news conference Thursday morning to discuss the issue and to tell his story.

The on-going controversy became public knowledge earlier this month after news surfaced that the IRS had been targeting tea party and patriot groups since as early as 2011.

The agency apologized for the "incorrect" scrutiny and blamed low-level employees working out of the Cincinnati office and said no high-level officials were aware.

Friday the House Ways and Means committee will hold a hearing on the agency's alleged "practice of discriminating" against organizations due to politics.

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