KINGSTON (WATE) - The co-chairman of the Roane County Tea Party said the group has joined at least 17 other conservative groups in a lawsuit against the IRS and the Department of Treasury.
The lawsuit is headed by the American Center for Law and Justice.
Roane County Tea Party co-chairman Gary Johnston said the group first applied for a tax exemption status in March of 2010 and said it took around six months before even hearing from the IRS.
"We were just trying to stay legal is all we were doing," Johnston said.
Johnston said once they were contacted by an IRS agent, they were given an extensive list of questions that seemed unusual for the federal agency.
"It was striking the amount of information they wanted," Johnston said.
According to documents, the list of questions included ones about political affiliations, asking the group to give a complete listing of, "all communications in which you have expressly endorsed or opposed individual candidates or slates of candidates."
It goes on to ask for copies of their Facebook page, blog posts and newsletters.
"This is over the top," Johnston said. "They've got questions and sub-questions here that are going to take us forever to answer if we can even answer them correctly."
Johnston said the Roane County Tea Party was granted the tax exemption status three years after the initial application.
"I wouldn't even had applied for this had I known we were going to have this kind of problem," Johnston said. "I wouldn't have even bothered. It wasn't worth it."
6 News reached out to several local CPAs but none of them wanted to talk about the issue on camera.
But some did say that some of the questions asked to the Roane County Tea Party are not what is typically considered to be appropriate or relevant for a tax exemption status.
The American Center for Law and Justice said it's unclear when the lawsuit against the IRS and the Department of Treasury will be officially filed and said there are plans to possibly name government officials in the lawsuit.
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