WASHINGTON, June 19 (UPI) -- A Washington rally Wednesday against Internal Revenue Service conservative-group targeting will be the largest Tea Party protest in three years, organizers say.
The "Audit the IRS" rally on the U.S. Capitol's west lawn is expected to feature Republican Senate Tea Party Caucus member and possible 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Rand Paul of Kentucky, House caucus Chairwoman Michele Bachmann and conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck, the Tea Party Patriots tax-exempt political group said on its website.
At least 18 political groups alleging they were targeted by the IRS when they applied for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status as "social welfare" organizations will also participate in the rally, Tea Party Patriots said.
The IRS has apologized for the targeting, which an inspector general's report said began in 2010 and ended last year when senior IRS officials learned of it.
The report, released last month, found an IRS unit in Cincinnati used criteria that included conservative labels such as "Tea Party" to target certain groups seeking tax-exempt status for extra questioning.
IRS rules prevent groups engaged in excessive political activity from becoming tax exempt, but the agency has struggled to develop clear guidelines on the matter.
"We are going to tell the world about how the IRS tried to crush the Tea Party movement," the patriots group said in an email to supporters.
"Thousands of volunteers will rally in the largest demonstration of Tea Party support since 2010," said the email, first reported by The Daily Caller news and opinion website.
The fiscally focused, quasi-libertarian Tea Party movement was at its height in 2009 and 2010, drawing tens of thousands of attendees to rallies, and was a vocal force in mobilizing voters to support Republican candidates in 2010.
Other speakers expected to appear at the Capitol Hill rally Wednesday include Republican Senate Tea Party Caucus members Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich.