05/14/2013 10:07 am ET Updated May 14, 2013

Tea Party Leader Jenny Beth Martin: IRS Targeting Conservative Groups Like Out Of A 'Dictatorship'

Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, slammed the Internal Revenue Service for targeting conservative groups in the lead-up to the 2012 elections, saying the actions were like something out of a "dictatorship."

“This is chilling. And it's scary,” Martin said during a Tuesday interview on the Alice Stewart Show, according to The Hill. “And this is the kind of thing that you expect to hear in third world countries, in dictatorships and tyrannies.”

Lois Lerner, head of the IRS's exempt organizations division, apologized on Friday for the inappropriate targeting of conservative groups during the 2012 election. The apology revealed that groups with the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their applications for tax-exempt status had received greater scrutiny, HuffPost's Paul Blumenthal reported.

Martin said the actions of the IRS were "wrong no matter who it's happening to," saying "it can't happen to Tea Party groups" or other groups like MoveOn.org or Organizing For America.

“The IRS has completely abused their power and we have to hold them accountable,” Martin said.

Obama called the actions of the IRS "outrageous" and vowed to "make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this."

"[T]here is no place for it, and they have to be held fully accountable, because the IRS as an independent agency requires absolute integrity and people have to have confidence that they are applying the laws in a non-partisan way," Obama said in a press conference Monday. "You should feel that way regardless of party."

Click here for more on Martin's comments from The Hill.



Conservatives Pointing Fingers