In an August letter, the Internal Revenue Service said that the NAACP did not violate its tax-exempt status when the civil rights group's chairman gave a speech criticizing President Bush.

In a letter, dated Aug. 9, the IRS said a review of video footage of a speech given by Julian Bond in October 2004, as well as other information, indicated "that political intervention did not occur."

"It's disappointing that the IRS took nearly two years to conclude what we knew from the beginning: the NAACP did not violate tax laws and continues to be politically nonpartisan," said NAACP president and chief executive Bruce S. Gordon, in a statement.

According to published reports, Bond said of the Bush administration: "They preach racial neutrality and practice racial division. They've tried to patch the leaky economy and every other domestic problem with duct tape and plastic sheets. They write a new constitution of Iraq and they ignore the Constitution here at home."

Political campaigning is prohibited under the Baltimore-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's tax-exempt status. The IRS had said that its inquiry has focused on whether the chairman's speech was too political, and that the investigation was just ones among dozens.

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