IRS Lawyer Was Told 'Additional Information Would Be Needed' on Tea Party Applications

By Fred Lucas | July 18, 2013 | 3:01pm EDT

This file photo taken March 2, 2013, shows the Internal Revenue Service building at the Federal Triangle complex in Washington. Poor oversight by the Internal Revenue Service allowed workers to use agency credit cards to buy wine for an expensive luncheon, dorky swag for managers' meetings and, for one employee, romance novels and diet pills, an agency watchdog said Tuesday, June 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

( - An Internal Revenue Service tax law specialist and 48-year veteran of the tax collecting agency told Congress Thursday that when he suggested that tax-exempt applications for Tea Party groups be approved, he was told to get more information. He also said staff from the IRS chief counsel’s office suggested a “template” for dealing with Tea Parties.

Carter Hull, senior tax law specialist with the IRS, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that Tea Party applications for tax-exempt applications were subjected to a multi-layered review that included the office of IRS Chief Counsel William Wilkins, one of two political appointees in the agency.

Hull told the committee during a hearing Wednesday that he could not talk about what groups were denied and what groups were approved for tax-exempt status, but he said he recommended approval for some and denial for others.


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Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) asked, “So there were applications recommended yes and applications recommended no. Were those heeded to your knowledge? In other words, did they agree with your recommendations and act on it, or did they not act on it?”

Hull answered, “It was after that that I was told additional information would be needed.”

Issa followed, “So it’s fair to say, that when you recommended yes, you got told, ‘Go get more information?’”

Hull answered, “Correct.”

Earlier during his testimony, Hull said IRS management sought to create a “template” for Tea Party groups.

“In August 2011, I attended a meeting at which the application assigned to me were discussed,” Hull said.

He said that two employees from the IRS Chief Counsel’s office were in the meeting and suggested “more current information was needed” on Tea Party applicants.

He continued, “I also recall a discussion about the creation of a template development letter for the Tea Party application. I expressed my opinion that a template was not a good idea, as there was a great deal of variance among the groups and each application needed to be developed according to its particular facts and circumstances.”

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