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Published On: Sat, Feb 8th, 2014

IRS still targeting conservative, tea party and religious groups seeking tax exempt status

A conservative group claiming it was targeted by the Internal Revenue Service headlined hearings on Thursday as details continue to emerge which prove the IRS is still delaying applications for tax exempt status for conservative groups, Tea Party organizations and some religious groups.

Tea Party deserves the IRS targeting? Some folks feel that way. But how about Progressive groups? Occupy Wall Street?

Tea Party deserves the IRS targeting? Some folks feel that way. But how about Progressive groups? Occupy Wall Street?

Over Thanksgiving, the IRS announced new rules that critics say would allow the agency to continue its tough targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups.

Forty-one grass-roots groups were named as plaintiffs in the ACLJ lawsuit alleging widespread abuses of the First Amendment rights of assembly and free speech by the Obama administration and the IRS. Of those, 13 still have not received adjudication of their request for nonprofit status.

One group’s leader put members of Congress in the crosshairs of investigation as well.

Catherine Engelbrecht, president of True the Vote, complained that Rep. Cummings, ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee “sent letters to True the Vote, demanding much of the same information the IRS had requested” after she filed for nonprofit status and then “would appear on cable news and publicly defame me and my organization.”

Lawyer Cleta Mitchell represented some of these groups when the IRS held up their tax-exempt status for years.

“The IRS is still, very deliberately targeting conservative organizations and subjecting them to additional intense and burdensome scrutiny — and this has not stopped,” she said. “This is still ongoing.”

“And subjected all these groups to extreme scrutiny, burdensome questions. One of my clients received 102 questions from the IRS,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said what the IRS was doing quietly from 2009 to 2013 it’s now doing openly to the kind of 501(c)(4) groups like most of the Tea Parties.

“Now the IRS in plain sight is trying to make permanent all the awful things they were doing to Tea Party groups and now extend that to every 501(c)(4) organization in America and to make it permanent,” Mitchell said. “It’s really quite dreadful.”

In a column published in the February edition of Newsmax Magazine, the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley A. Strassel contends that conservative groups are much more likely to become ensnared in the new proposed limitations.

She notes that neither unions, which conduct most of their activities as 501c5 groups, nor 501c3 organizations such as the liberal League of Women Voters Education Fund, are affected. That’s because the rules were not written to apply to those types of nonprofits.

Everett Wilkinson, chairman of the grass-roots National Liberty Federation organization, tells Newsmax: 

“Never before have we seen such attitudes and actions taken in America by an administration or government body. They are intentionally trying to silence the voices of millions of Americans, who all they want is to be heard.”

Wilkinson said his organization is closely following nine critical Senate races that could flip either way. But the fear of some that they could become targets of the IRS is having an impact, he says.

“Through this intimidation, a lot of people have said, ‘I don’t know if I want to risk the IRS or the Treasury Department or whoever they’re going to send after me,’ ” he says.

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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