Just yesterday, we posted our first in a series of blogs, on IRS targeting of conservative political groups. The scandal, originally disclosed as limited to Cincinnati, has widened to the D.C. area and California offices.
Washington DC Office Appears to Have Participated
Cincinnati IRS officials informed conservative groups seeking status as not-for-profit organization, that a DC task force was overseeing their applications. This is in stark contrast to Ms. Lerner’s prior admission that the actions in the Cincinnati office were “absolutely inappropriate” undertaken by “front-line people”.
Was True the Vote a Targeted Group?
Cleta Mitchell, partner Foley & Lardner, LLP partner representing True the Vote, told the Washington Post “For the IRS to say it was some low-level group in Cincinnati is simply false.” True the Vote submitted their application in October 2009 and was still receiving document demands from the DC office in February 2012. Among the documents demanded, under penalty of perjury, were:
- Copies of emails they distributed, indicating the key issue, date and target audience of each for the years 2009-2011
- Copies of vote audits and congressional rating conducted from 2009 – 2012, including the key issues identified.
- Dates, locations, key issues, agendas, list of speakers, attendees, and copies of materials provided for each public seminar held
- List of contributors of $2,000 or more in each year 2009 – 2011
- Tea Party Groups Similarly Subjected to Unwarranted InquiryBoth the Richmond Tea Party and the Wetumpka Tea Party of Alabama related similar experiences to the Washington Post. Specifically, the Richmond Tea Party received a demand from an IRS specialist requesting, among other things, the names of the donors, contributors and grantors and the size of contributions and grants and when they were given. Their December 2009 application was granted in July 2012. Richmond’s President informed the Post that the extended inquiry had a “very chilling effect” on how much money the group could raise because its donors preferred to remain anonymous.During an interview with the Post, Wetumpka’s President avowed “I was outraged. Being an election year, I felt like it was intimidation.” Also required to provide intrusive information including the names of all volunteers, donor information and contribution amounts, names of legislators contacted, contents of speeches made, among other things, they chose not to comply. Instead, they contacted the American Center for Law and Justice, who promptly threatened a lawsuit against the IRS. The organization’s status was subsequently approved.Ever-Expanding Scandal Reaches California
Based on Washington Post reporting, it appears both the El Monte and Laguna Niguel IRS offices in California specifically targeted Tea Party groups, burdening them with requests for information far outside the scope required to assess their respective applications for nonprofit status.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Decries IRS Actions are Outrageous Abuse of Power
Max Baucus (D-MT) came out swinging against the IRS, decrying “These actions by the IRS are an outrageous abuse of power and breach of the public’s trust. The IRS will now be the ones put under additional scrutiny.” Senator Baucus also announced yesterday an investigation will commence. Flashback, only a couple of weeks ago, Senator Baucus told HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that he worried the implementation of ObamaCare was becoming a “train wreck.” The IRS plays a key role in ObamaCare enforcement. Whatever could go wrong with that?
What role did the White House playing in targeting the Tea Party? Is Barack Obama’s campaign play in the identification of groups to target? How many organizations discontinued their activities because of the IRS’ intimidation tactics? What information could Tea Party and other conservative organizations have provided to voters if they were able to concentrate on their mission? These and many other questions need to be answered. Demand the truth. Demand accountability. We are a Red Nation Rising.