CINCINNATI (AP) — A federal judge in Ohio has approved class-action status for a tea party group’s lawsuit stemming from IRS delays in approving nonprofit status for conservative groups seeking the tax-exemption classification.

The NorCal Tea Party Patriots sued the IRS, along with workers and officials in Cincinnati and Washington, after it was revealed in 2013 that the IRS delayed approving conservative groups for the nonprofit status. The FBI investigated, but no criminal charges were filed.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports (http://cin.ci/1ZkDPAg) a U.S. District Court judge in Cincinnati granted class-action status Tuesday. That means other affected groups across the country can join the case unless they opt out.

The judge also sealed the case to protect taxpayer records that might be on file with the IRS and the tea party group.

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