"I didn't think about it at the time, but it was suspect," Dragoo said in a telephone interview. "I think tea partiers have always wondered if we were targeted, but we had no proof."
She added, "We registered through the state of Illinois as a group to have meetings. We declined to make a report, but we thought we were doing the right thing. The documents that we had to send in after answering questions we thought was way too intrusive. Why they would need to ask all those questions, I don't know. The tea party is rejecting apologies from the IRS. It goes way beyond targeting the tea party."
In some cases, the IRS acknowledged, agents inappropriately asked for lists of donors. The agency blamed low-level employees in a Cincinnati office, saying no high-level officials were aware. But in letters provided by the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents 27 tea party groups that have sought tax exempt status, IRS officials from two cities in California as well as officials in Washington, D.C. and Cincinnati contacted groups seeking extensive information.
Attorney General Eric Holder has said the FBI will investigate to see if any laws were broken.
"These actions were, I think, as everyone can agree, if not criminal, they were certainly outrageous and unacceptable," Holder said in a news conference. "We are examining the facts to see if there were criminal violations."