Today via email I received the current edition of my local Tea Party's newsletter. In it the tale is told of how our group was subjected to the obstructionist policies of the IRS. Though it had been going on for almost 3 years it is just now becoming publically known because our local leaders thought it was an isolated incident. Not so, as the newsletter makes clear.The IRS targeting of conservative groups has been in the news headlines for weeks now. The Tri-Cities TEA Party was one of those targeted. We completed the forms and attached a $400 check when we applied in March 2010 to be a tax exempt, 501(c)(4) educational, non-partisan organization. We thought we needed to do this to comply with the tax code. This was the beginning of a long-term hassle with the IRS.
In spite of the hassle, we do want to say something positive about the IRS—they were very efficient in the speed with which they cashed our check!! However, there was no other immediate response from IRS.
After waiting about 7 months, we received a letter on October 14, 2010 that required answers to 17 lengthy questions. We hustled to meet their arbitrary November 4 deadline and submitted a thick package of supplemental information. We were asked for:
◾resumes for each member of our Board of Directors,
◾minutes of our Board meetings,
◾copies of all our newsletters,
◾copies of all promotional materials and literature,
◾descriptions of our rallies including speakers and topics,
◾copies of all contracts with third parties,
◾criteria for inviting candidates to forums,
◾a list of all questions asked at the forums, and more.
Then we waited…and waited. Finally, on January 20, 2012, 15 months later, we received another letter from IRS demanding answers to 27 additional questions, many with multiple subparts. This time they wanted:
◾a print out of every page from our website,
◾details about every conservative link on our website,
◾more personal details about every member of our Board of Directors,
◾information on any of our members that were ever a candidate for any public office,
◾a listing of all past and planned activities including time and expenses,
◾a list of all sources of revenue (identity of our donors),
◾details of our get-out-the-vote efforts,
◾details of our contacts with any candidates,
◾a list of all legislative bills that we tried to influence,
◾details about our Agenda 21 Committee,
◾details about our relationship with other conservative groups,
◾an explanation of our support for the Fair Tax proposal, and
◾an explanation of our relationship with the Benton County Young Republicans.
At this point it was apparent that IRS had no intention of granting us tax-exempt status and we declined to respond.
A short time later, we heard from the Waco, Texas Tea Party. It seemed that hundreds of Tea Party groups had received the same January 20 letter. We participated in several conference calls, comparing notes on the harassment by IRS. On one call, Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) joined the call and offered to help. We submitted a form to grant power-of-attorney to ACLJ so they could represent us to IRS.
At our Board of Directors meeting on November 6, 2012, the Board decided to drop our application and not pursue the 501(c)(4) status, even though we had joined the ACLJ suit against the IRS. The Board concluded that we weren’t likely to be approved anyway and we didn’t need tax-exempt status because we had no taxable revenues.
The Board feels the IRS owes us more than a half-hearted apology and we are pursuing a refund of our $400 application fee at the very least! The Board also decided to rejoin the ACLJ’s lawsuit. We will definitely keep the TCTP membership informed as this IRS issue evolves.
One of the things this national attention of an ever occurring abuse of power with the IRS has made abundantly clear is the necessity to pursue the Fair Tax on a fast-track, eliminating the 16th Amendment, and, thus eliminating the IRS altogether! The Fair Tax eliminates the need for the IRS because the tax is collected by the state and sent to the feds; therefore, auditing businesses for reporting tax collections would be a state auditor function.
Don’t think we have won the war for a Constitutional government; this is just a skirmish to our favor in a long overdue fight for our liberty and a future for our children and grandchildren!
Even in the face of such a misuse of government power there is still room for humor. This report was accompanied by this: