Republicans Demand Probe as IRS Scandal Widens

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The Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative political groups went beyond those with Tea Party or patriot in their names.
The agency has admitted it also targeted groups that express concern about taxes, government spending, and debt -- even several groups that were lobbying to "make America a better place to live."
Republican lawmakers took to the airwaves over the weekend, slamming the IRS and demanding a full investigation.

"It is absolutely chilling that the IRS was singling out conservative groups for extra review," Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told CNN's "State of the Union."

"I don't care if you're a conservative, a liberal, a Democrat or a Republican, this should send a chill up your spine," Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., told "Fox News Sunday." "This is something that we cannot let stand. It needs to have a full investigation."
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 questionnaires, 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.
The American Center for Law and Justice has been representing Tea Party groups in their lawsuits against the government.

"We represent 27 clients here; now 15 of those we've been able to resolve with (the) IRS while we've been informing the IRS national headquarters here in D.C. that there was a bad policy out there with these groups from around the country," Jordan Sekulow, executive director for the ACLJ, said.
Critics say President Obama should apologize and order a thorough investigation.

"What we know about this is a concern, and we certainly find the actions taken as reported to be inappropriate and we would fully expect the investigation to be thorough and for corrections to be made," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
The IRS blamed low-level employees in Cincinnati for targeting the conservative groups. But the inspector general's report due out this week may claim that senior IRS officials knew about the targeting as early as 2011.

"I just don't buy that this was a couple of rogue IRS employees," Collins said. "There's evidence that higher level supervisors were aware of this. And the IRS was not forthcoming in telling Congress about the problem." 

The IRS may also have targeted some Jewish groups, according to a report by The Jewish Press.
The pro-Israel organization Z Street filed a lawsuit against the IRS, claiming it was told they're tax exempt status needed additional scrutiny because they're "connected to Israel."

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Caitlin Burke and Charlene Israel

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