The government apologized Thursday for illegally targeting tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny and agreed to settlements with hundreds of organizations snared in the targeting, bringing to a close one of the more embarrassing episodes of the Obama administration.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the IRS owed the groups an apology after years of poor treatment and even longer refusal to concede bad behavior. He placed blame on “the last administration,” saying the targeting that went on under President Obama “was wrong and should never have occurred.”
One of the settlement agreements, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., officially admits that the IRS singled out groups because of their political beliefs, in defiance of the law. The other settlement, in a class-action lawsuit in Ohio, includes a “generous” payout to more than 400 groups snared, according to a lawyer involved.
“There is no excuse for this conduct,” Mr. Sessions said in a statement. “Hundreds of organizations were affected by these actions, and they deserve an apology from the IRS.”