Barack Obama

By Carol D. Leonnig
Published: May 16, 2013

When the Barack H. Obama Foundation sought tax-exempt status to raise money for good works in Kenya, the Internal Revenue Service provided quick help.

The IRS approved charitable status for the foundation, which was run by President Obama’s brother and named after his father, in about a month’s time. The IRS also agreed to give the group this important financial status retroactively, back to 2009, when it had begun its fundraising.

The 34 days the IRS’s Cincinnati office took to process the foundation’s application stands in contrast to the waits of several months — and sometimes longer than a year — that several conservative groups say they experienced with the same office. Obama has apologized, saying Americans have a right to be angry that the office improperly targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny.

The IRS handling of the Obama-named group was revealed this week by a conservative watchdog group, the National Legal and Policy Center, and reported by the Daily Caller on Thursday. The Washington Post confirmed reports through public records of the group’s application and the IRS approval letter, signed by the unit director Lois Lerner.

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