In a move that raised concerns for many people across our country, including the members of the Tea Party, the Internal Revenue Service has sent a letter requesting information from Tea Party chapters that clearly overreached its authority. The specific instance I am referring to has to do with the application of the Waco Tea Party to register as a 501(c)(4) non-profit group. I was first alerted to this by a post from The McCarville Report Online and when I read it, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Well, actually, I am not surprised at anything the IRS does, but it dismays me that they would go so far to control what certain groups can or can not do. The link I have provided is to Mike McCarville’s short opinion piece about the actions of the IRS. The original story comes from Fox News and it should give us all reason for concern.
In letters sent from IRS offices in Cincinnati earlier this month, chapters including the Waco (Texas) Tea Party and the Ohio Liberty Council were asked to provide a list of donors, identify volunteers, financial support for and relationships with political candidates and parties, and even printed copies of their Facebook pages.
“Some of what they (the IRS) asked was reasonable, but there were some requests on there that were strange,” Toby Marie Walker, president of the Waco Tea Party told FoxNews.com. “It makes you wonder if they do this to groups like ACORN or other left-leaning groups.”
You can read the letter the IRS sent to the Waco chapter of the Tea Party here, but I want to quote a portion of the demands the IRS made.
1. Please provide copies of your current web pages, including your Blog posts. Please provide copies of all of your newsletters, bulletins, flyers, newsletters or any other media or literature you have disseminated to your members or others. Please provide copies of stories and articles you have published about you.
2. Provide copies of the pages of your social networking sites.
Did you read what they are wanting? I believe this brings us to an entirely new chapter of government overreach, by one of its most powerful departments. This should be enough to convince anyone that the IRS needs to be reformed. By reform, I mean it needs to be hamstrung, if not abolished and closed completely down. The first two items on their list is just the start of a list of demands. While some of them may be normal, I fail to see why they need copies of web pages, social networking sites, or blog posts. Just to approve a 501(c)(4) request?
Some of the other demands include the IRS’ desire to know if the Waco Tea Party has endorsed any political candidates, and if so, they want specific instances and the circumstances surrounding those endorsements. It should be noted here that a 501(c)(4) differs from a 501(c)(3), in that they are allowed to participate in specific campaigns and to endorse candidates. If that is the case, according to IRS rules, why does the IRS need to know who they have endorsed and why? Here is the portion of the letter that makes that demand.
8. Have you expressly endorsed or oppose candidates for public office or slates of candidates at public events, on your website, on your radio show or You Tube page, in your literature or any other forum? Do you plan to do so in the current election cycle? If so, provide a list of candidates for political office yo have expressly endorsed or opposed, and describe the occasion on which you made each endorsement.
9. Describe in detail any financial or other support you have given to candidates, slates of candidates, or political parties, or which you plan to give in the current election cycle.
Are you getting worried now? If you aren’t, you should be. I am not a fan or a believer of conspiracy theories, but the IRS has clearly overstepped its authority in this case. Given the nature of their demands, it should also make us realize that those of us who blog about all things political are definitely on their radar. What more will it take to make us realize the direction our government is headed?