Congressmen Complain as IRS Harasses Tea Party

Congressmen from 63 districts have challenged the IRS to explain a series of events indicating a systematic harassment of Tea Party chapters around the nation 

As disclosed on a major Tea Party website, beginning in January and February, chapters around the country reported receiving unusual letters mailed from the same Ohio IRS office.  The letters requested identification of all volunteers and donors, even though contributions to a 501(c)(4) tax exempt organization are not tax deductible.  This led members to worry about harassment audits to chill Tea Party participation.

Representative Tom McClintock (R, CA), in remarks presented on the House floor earlier this week, spoke of the difficulties experienced by Tea Party volunteers attempting to obtain 501(c)(4) status for their new chapter:

A Tea Party group in my district is typical of the reports we are hearing from all across the country.  This group submitted articles of incorporation as a non-profit to the state of California, and received approval within a month.  Then, they tried to register as a non-profit with the IRS.  Despite repeated and numerous inquiries, the IRS stonewalled this group for a year and a half, at which time it demanded thousands of pages of documentation - and gave the group less than three weeks to produce it. 

The IRS demanded the names of every participant at every meeting held over the last two years, transcripts of every speech given at those meetings, what positions they had taken on issues, the names of their volunteers and donors, and copies of  communications they had with elected officials and on and on. 

Perhaps most chilling of all, the organizer of this particular group soon found herself the object of a personal income tax audit by the IRS.

Alarmed by these events, McClintock and the other congressmen have sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Schulman asking him to explain how the recent IRS demands "are consistent with precedent and supported by law" and requesting that further such "additional unwarranted and excessive information demands and other dilatory tactics" cease.

McClintock summarizes the Tea Party fear:

No such tactics have been reported by any similar civic groups on the political left, so the conclusion is inescapable - that this administration is very clearly, very pointedly and very deliberately attempting to intimidate, harass and threaten civic minded groups with which they disagree using one of the most feared and powerful agencies of the United States Government to do so.  

Don't hold your breath awaiting a positive response..  As reported on The Hill website:

A spokesman from the IRS said in a statement, "By law, the IRS cannot discuss any specific taxpayer situation or case."

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