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Applications still pending

An IRS spokesman didn’t respond Monday to questions about True the Vote and the letters sent to other tea party groups.

Last week, Rep. Ted Poe, Texas Republican, raised True the Vote’s situation with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. at a hearing, saying the extent of snooping on Ms. Engelbrecht suggested the only way to get to the bottom of the situation was to name a special prosecutor.

Mr. Holder, though, said the Obama administration can investigate itself.

“My point is that the notion that government has or that the Justice Department has credibility problems, I think, is belied by the notion that people, I think, more generally have of government and the good that government does and the need for, as I said, for good government,” he said.

Ms. Mitchell, the lawyer representing True the Vote and other conservative groups still battling the IRS for tax-exempt status, said some in the federal government appear to be treating the scandal as if it were a thing of the past. She said that’s wrong — True the Vote is still awaiting approval, as are dozens of others.

Ms. Mitchell said usually it takes about six to nine months for a group filing as a 501(c )(3) to get approval, while a group filing for 501(c )(4) status might take nine to 12 months.

Both True the Vote and King Street Patriots are still waiting, and they hit the three-year mark in two months.

“Count original submissions and all the supplements — five different submissions to the IRS over a period of three years, and we still don’t have the tax-exempt status. Some of those submissions have involved 500 pages, 600 pages, and we still don’t have the letter,” she said. “This is a good case study of the kind of paperwork burden the IRS has imposed, and we still don’t have the tax-exempt status. And it’s been a huge cost.”