Conservative radio talker Mark Levin appears to have touched off the investigation into Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative political groups back in March 2012.
In a letter last year on behalf of the Landmark Legal Foundation, an organization he heads, Levin requested an investigation into what he called “misconduct.”
On Friday, the Internal Revenue Service revealed that it had improperly targeted conservative groups for audits during the 2012 election. During a conference call, Lois Lerner, the IRS’s director of exempt organizations, explained that IRS staffers selected groups that included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax exempt status.
Levin told The Daily Caller Friday afternoon his organization had litigated similar complaints of political audits during the Clinton administration and specifically referenced the Heritage Foundation as one of the tax collector’s targets at the time.
More recently, Levin said, conservative and Tea Party groups approached him complaining of harassment by the IRS, which prompted his organization to petition Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George.
“So what happened here is we were contacted by a number of individuals with Tea Party affiliations and they were telling us what was going on,” he said. “They were sharing the information with us and we concluded the best way to handle this was to go to the Treasury Department — the inspector general’s office because the IRS per se we didn’t think would conduct a thorough investigation of itself.”
After that initial contact, Levin said two agents from Treasury paid his office a visit seeking more information.