Officials at the Internal Revenue Service say agents in the Cincinnati office may be responsible subjecting some conservative groups to extra scrutiny.
The Justice Department is investigating the IRS for targeting the groups. Attorney General Eric Holder says the agency started targeting groups with "Tea Party," ''Patriots" or "9/12 Project" in their applications in March 2010. The practice ended in May 2012, according to a draft of an upcoming report by the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration. In some cases, the IRS acknowledged, agents inappropriately asked for lists of donors, and blamed low-level employees in the Cincinnati office, claiming no high-level officials were aware. But in letters provided by the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents 27 tea party groups that have sought tax exempt status, IRS officials from two cities in California - El Monte and Laguna Nigel - as well as officials in Washington, D.C., and Cincinnati contacted groups seeking extensive information. US Attorney General Eric says the FBI will investigate to see if any laws were broken. He said he ordered the criminal investigation Friday - the day the IRS publicly acknowledged that it had singled out conservative groups.