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Sen. Collins: IRS targeting conservatives “absolutely chilling”

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U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Sunday called on President Barack Obama to apologize for the Internal Revenue Service’s politically-motivated attacks on conservative non-profit groups.

“This is truly outrageous and it contributes to the profound distrust that the American people have in government,” said Collins on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “It is absolutely chilling that the IRS was singling out conservative groups for extra review, and I think it’s very disappointing that the president hasn’t personally condemned this and spoken out.”

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued an apology on Friday for targeting groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names, confirming what many conservatives have long feared, and what many in the media have staunchly denied.

Lois G. Lerner, the IRS official responsible for monitoring tax-exempt groups, said the decision to target conservative groups was “absolutely inappropriate,” and was made by low-level employees.

Lerner said that none of the groups targeted because of their conservative inclinations had their tax exempt status removed.

For top Republicans in Washington, D.C., however, an apology will not suffice.

“I call on the White House to conduct a transparent, government-wide review aimed at assuring the American people that these thuggish practices are not underway at the IRS or elsewhere in the administration against anyone, regardless of their political views,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said. “An apology won’t put this issue to rest.”

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