Tea Party

Tea Party groups were unfairly targeted by the IRS and are now complaining loudly to Congress:

The House Ways and Means Committee invited a collection of groups to speak about their experiences as details continue to emerge about how and why IRS officials in a Cincinnati, Ohio, field office began targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny.

“This was not an accident. This is a willful act of intimidation intended to discourage a point of view,” said Becky Gerritson, president of a Tea Party group in Wetumpka, Alabama.

She tearfully described how she and her husband had to seek legal counsel when confronted with questionnaires about their donors, communications with legislators and their voter education activities.

“I’m not interested in scoring political points. I want to protect and preserve the America I grew up in,” Gerritson said.

Hmmm:

In Alabama, the Wetumpka Tea Party organized a day of training for its members and other Tea Party activists across the region in the run-up to the 2012 election. The training was held under the auspices of the Adopt-a-State program, a nationwide effort that encouraged Tea Party groups in safely red or blue states to support Tea Party groups in battleground states working to get out the vote for Republicans.

Adopt-a-State was a key component of Code Red USA, a get-out-the-vote initiative organized by a conservative political action committee. The goal of Code Red USA was made clear in one of its fund-raising videos, which told supporters: “On Nov. 6, 2012, Code Red USA authorizes the defeat of President Barack Obama.”

and here are others:

When CVFC, the veterans’ group, first applied for I.R.S. recognition in early 2010, it stated that it did not plan to spend any money on politics. The group, whose full name in its application was CVFC 501(c)(4), listed an address shared with a political organization called Combat Veterans for Congress PAC. CVFC told the I.R.S. that it planned to e-mail veterans about ways in which they “may engage in government” and provide “social welfare programs to assist combat veterans to get involved in government.”

But later in 2010, as it awaited an I.R.S. ruling, the organization spent close to $8,000 on radio ads backing Michael Crimmins, a Republican and a former Marine, for a House seat in San Diego, according to Federal Election Commission records.

The spending is not detailed in the group’s tax return for 2010, raising questions about whether it properly accounted for the expense to the I.R.S. The group also checked off a box marked “No” when asked if it had engaged in direct or indirect political activities on behalf of a candidate for political office.

Tom Zawistowski, president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, another Tea Party group that has complained about the scrutiny it received from the I.R.S., sent out regular e-mails to members about Romney campaign events and organized protests around the state to “demand the truth about Benghazi” when Mr. Obama visited before the 2012 election. The coalition also canvassed neighborhoods, handing out Romney campaign “door hangers,” Mr. Zawistowski said.

The I.R.S. usually considers such activities to be partisan. But when Mr. Zawistowski consulted his group’s lawyers, he said, he came away understanding that the I.R.S. was most concerned with radio or television advertising. He said he believed that other activities, like distributing literature for the Romney campaign, would not raise concerns.

“It’s not political activity,” he said.

Zawistowski also ran for political office, but he probably doesn’t think that’s political either.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Republicans try to make IRS worse for the poor | Petunias

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