The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said that it is refusing to comply with an Internal Revenue Service request for documents that came as part of the agency's investigation into alleged improper political bias on the part of the civil rights group.The IRS is challenging the group's tax-exempt status because, it says, NAACP chairman Julian Bond made politically partisan remarks while speaking at the group's national convention in Philadelphia last July. The civil rights organization was charged in an Oct. 8 IRS document with "distributing statements in opposition of George W. Bush for the presidency."

An IRS spokesman said in early February that the agency could not comment further for privacy reasons. Last October, IRS Commissioner Mark Everson denied the group's claim that the probe is politically motivated.

The NAACP said that it "has rejected the IRS's premise that Bond's speech constituted prohibited campaign intervention."

In a letter to the IRS, the NAACP said that Bond's comments "were consistent with the organization's long-standing practice of advocating positions in the interest of minorities in the United States without regard to election cycles."

In a statement issued in February, the group's interim president and CEO, Dennis Hayes, said, "The IRS assault was clearly motivated by partisan politics," and was intended to divert the group from its voter registration and get-out-the-vote activities, since it was announced a month before the 2004 election.

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