NEW: IRS office in D.C. heavily involved in tea party assault

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Judicial Watch, a public interest law firm, released documents Wednesday that it obtained under open-records requests from the IRS that it said showed the targeting was overseen by Washington. That contradicts former IRS employee Lois G. Lerner’s initial claim that the problem was centered in the agency’s Cincinnati office.

“These new documents show that officials in the IRS headquarters were responsible for the illegal delays of Tea Party applications,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

The documents also detail repeated efforts by Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, to get the IRS to take a look at nonprofit groups’ political activity, and IRS replies.

In one of those replies, the IRS said it had leeway in deciding what questions to ask applicants and acknowledged it didn’t have a set period for closing cases.

Mr. Levin said his efforts to find out more about how the IRS was handling these applications — including a specific request for details about 12 groups, most of which were conservative — has been public for some time.

“Those letters have been on my website for over a year. We’ve urged the IRS to enforce the law against both conservative and liberal groups,” he told The Washington Times. “Even the tapes we sent to the IRS were both Democratic and Republican TV commercials. We sent them both. It’s about time they enforce the law against both.”

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