The Internal Revenue Service said Friday that while "mistakes were made" when the agency inappropriately targeted conservative groups for additional reviews between 2010 and 2012, its actions were not motivated by partisan politics.
The agency explained that employees in its Cincinnati, Ohio office faced an increased influx of 501(c)(4) nonprofit applications by organizations during the election period and sought to "centralize" and better the efficiency of the system.
"While centralizing cases for consistency made sense, the way we initially centralized them did not," Dean J Patterson, a spokesman for the IRS, said in a statement obtained by TPM. "Mistakes were made initially, but they were in no way due to any political or partisan rationale. We fixed the situation last year and have made significant progress in moving the centralized cases through our system.
He added: "To date, more than half of the cases have been approved or withdrawn. It is important to recognize that all centralized applications received the same, even-handed treatment, and the majority of cases centralized were not based on a specific name. In addition, new procedures also were implemented last year to ensure that these mistakes won’t be made in the future. The IRS also stresses that our employees - all career civil servants -- will continue to be guided by tax law and not partisan issues."
Tea Party Patriots, one of the largest national tea party groups, on Friday called on President Barack Obama to apologize for the actions of the IRS. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also called for a "government-wide review" of the Obama administration, characterizing the conduct as "harrassment" and calling it "thuggish."