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High-level IRS office linked to application delay

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By Reuters
Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 7:06 p.m.

WASHINGTON — A high-level Internal Revenue Service office in Washington had a part in delaying reviews of some conservative groups' applications for tax-exempt status, according to excerpts of interviews released by Republicans on Wednesday.

The excerpts came from mid-level IRS officials, including one who expressed frustration that the IRS chief counsel's office above him interfered with his review.

Democrats said Republicans were “cherry picking” quotes to bolster their contention that partisan politics swayed decisions by IRS officials.

Democrats released their own interview excerpts, including one from another IRS official who said it was not uncommon for the chief counsel's office to review controversial cases.

Under the tax code in question, groups eligible for the federal exemption must engage in social welfare activity exclusively. However, IRS regulations provide some leeway for political activity, making a ruling sometimes difficult.

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