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April 27, 2012

Ohio Tea Party Group Drops Tax-Exemption Bid

An Ohio Tea Party organization, one of dozens nationwide that have alleged politically motivated resistance to their federal requests for charity status, dropped its application Thursday, according to the Dayton Daily News.

The Dayton Tea Party and similar groups have said the Internal Revenue Service sought information about their members and contributors. The moves triggered complaints by congressional Republicans that the IRS was singling out conservative organizations for scrutiny.

Don Birdsall, the Dayton group's president, said the IRS request was "overly burdensome" and included questions about individual members and donors. According to the newspaper, the agency's Feb. 14 questionnaire did not seek donor data or general information on members but did ask about those who had worked on rallies and public events for the group.

Douglas Shulman, the IRS commissioner, told a House subcommittee last month that the agency does not treat groups differently based on ideology but does seek extensive information from prospective 501(c)(4) groups' political activities.

"They can be involved in political and campaign activity, but it can’t be their primary purpose," Mr. Shulman said. "We engage them in a number of questions so we understand their primary purpose."