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They say the IRS was grappling with the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case, which expanded the ability of these kinds of groups to engage in political speech, and how it affected tax-exempt groups. They also say there is no evidence that the agency was politically motivated or directed from the White House.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House oversight committee, and Rep. Sander M. Levin, Michigan Democrat, said in an op-ed that appeared in The Washington Post this week that Republicans “have engaged in a sustained and orchestrated campaign to accuse the White House and the Obama administration of using the IRS to target the president’s political enemies — without any evidence to support their claims.”

“Let us be clear: There was mismanagement at the IRS, and IRS employees screened applications for tax-exempt status for further review based, in part, on the names of the organizations,” the Democrats write. “But there is absolutely no evidence of political motivation or White House involvement.”

They said lawmakers should re-focus their efforts on confirming a new commissioner of the IRS, “restoring the public’s trust in the agency and fixing the vague standards that led to these problems in the first place.”

But Rep. Darrel E. Issa, chairman of the House oversight committee, and Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican and chairman of a key subcommittee, continued to press for information Tuesday, turning their attention once again to Ms. Lerner and demanding that she turn over personal email records that involved her work at the IRS.

House investigators also have requested that the chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission turn over emails between her agency and Ms. Lerner. The IRS has said it would review the questions from House investigators but there didn’t appear to be any wrongdoing.

Caught in the middle of the investigations are the groups awaiting approval.

Mr. Kookogey, the president of Linchpins of Liberty, said the wait has made it impossible to raise money and will force him to start his group from scratch if his application is ever accepted. “If the government’s intent was to shut us down and make us unable to conduct our mission as a 501(c)(3) educational organization, then they have been effective,” he said.

Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel offered a deal to some of the 501 (c)(4) groups, including the Laurens County Tea Party, in June. He asked them to agree to limit political activities to 40 percent of their work in exchange for putting them through an expedited process.

But the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents the Laurens County Tea Party and dozens of other tea party groups, rejected that deal, saying the 40 percent limit has no basis in law.