SAN ANTONIO -- Members of the San Antonio Tea Party say they know first hand about the extra scrutiny the IRS has admitted to giving conservative groups applying for non-profit status in recent years.

George Rodriguez, former president of the San Antonio Tea Party, said they felt something wasn t right when the IRS confronted them in 2011.

We did not think the government would take these types of steps, he said.

Rodriguez said the IRS started asking personal questions, like Facebook contacts and e-mail addresses for members of the party.

After a while, this cost the local Tea Party about half their members, Rodriguez said.

We had a lot of folks within the movement that dropped out because of fear. Because they were afraid to say anything. Because they were afraid of association, Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said it ended up costing the San Antonio Tea Party several thousand dollars to hire attorneys and accountants to deal with months worth of audits and questions.

Rodriguez said he feels vindicated now that the issue has surfaced and his organization was cleared. He also wonders how many left-wing groups have been targeted by the IRS compared with conservative groups.

I think that organizations on the left, like ACORN and others like that the unions, should be subjected to this kind of scrutiny as well, Rodriguez said.

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