- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 18, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The Albuquerque Tea Party has been granted tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service after applying eight years ago.

Graham Bartlett, president of the local Tea Party, said he was informed about a month ago that the group’s request was going through, The Albuquerque Journal reported (https://bit.ly/2u5tbGJ ).

The Albuquerque Tea Party requested tax-exempt status because it relies on donations, and people tend to donate more when they know they can write it off on their taxes, Bartlett said.

The group filed its request in December 2009. Several months later, the IRS demanded more documentation concerning the organization’s activities. The group complied, and then the IRS requested even more documentation. The Tea Party provided more than 1,000 pages of documentation about the group’s activities.

“What I understand is the IRS was targeting any organization that had the name ‘Tea Party’ in it or the word ‘conservative,’” Bartlett said. “We weren’t the only ones.”

In 2012, the American Center for Law and Justice filed a lawsuit against the IRS on behalf of the Albuquerque Tea Party as well as other conservative groups whose requests for tax-exempt status seemed to be put on hold during the Obama administration. In 2015, a bipartisan review from the U.S. Senate’s Finance Committee found management flaws at the IRS contributed to a “dysfunctional culture” that allowed agents to mistreat conservative groups when they applied for tax-exempt status.

Both Bartlett and Moore said that since President Donald Trump and the Republicans assumed power in Washington in January, there seems to have been a change in policy and tone at the IRS.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, https://www.abqjournal.com

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