The Associated Press reports that senior officials with the Internal Revenue Service knew Tea Party groups were targeted as early as 2011.
The IRS admitted Friday to singling out Tea Party groups applying for tax exempt status last year, pointing the finger at "low level workers in Cincinnati."
During the 2012 election cycle many Tea Party groups applied for tax exempt status under the federal tax code.
In response, many received an unexpected barrage of unusual and time-consuming questions, ranging from membership lists to board members' resumes.
"This isn't rocket science. We know what the rules are and we follow them," Tim Savaglio, of the Liberty Township Tea Party, said.
After Tea Party groups across the country protested, the American Center for Law and Justice took the case, calling the IRS's actions unconstitutional and smacking of McCarthyism.
"The cases that support our position, date back to the 1950s," ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow told CBN News.
Jordan Sekulow, executive director for the ACLJ, will talk more about the IRS's apology on Newswatch, May 10. Click play for that interview.
"It's the NAACP line of cases where the government tried the same thing," he said. "They wanted membership lists, data, who did you communicate with? And the Supreme Court said, 'That is intimidation. That violates the First Amendment.'"
On Friday, an official speaking at an American Bar Association conference confessed the IRS singled out organizations with the words "Tea Party" or "Patriot" in their applications.
Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups, admitted the IRS asked for lists of donors, which violates its own policy.
She called the practice "wrong," "insensitive," and "inappropriate." In all, Lerner says the IRS inappropriately targeted 75 groups.
But Tea Party groups say it was more than inappropriate.
One of the largest groups, The Tea Party Patriots, has rejected the apology, calling the IRS action an "outrageous abuse of power." They're calling on Congress to investigate.