Witness: IRS warned us not to protest Planned Parenthood
...“[T]he IRS continued questioning us,” Martinek continued. “On June 22, 2009, IRS Agent Richards sent us additional written requests, as follows: ‘Please explain how all of your activities, including the prayer meetings held outside of Planned Parenthood are considered educational as defined under 501(c)(3).”
She added: “Organizations exempt under 501(c)(3) may present opinions with scientific or medical facts. Please explain in detail the activities at the prayer meetings. Also, please provide the percentage of time your organization spends on prayer groups as compared with the other activities of the organization. Please explain in detail the signs that are being held up outside of Planned Parenthood and explain how they are considered educational.’ When we met at our next board meeting, we all were disappointed with the IRS’ request.”...
...More importantly, though, note that this began in June 2009 — long before Citizens United, with the Tea Party movement still in its nascent stage. This demonstrates a hostility to conservative, pro-life activism that existed within the IRS well before the supposed triggering event from the Supreme Court. It came well before the eruption of outrage at Congressional town-hall events during the recess of August 2009 that put the Tea Party movement on the national radar....
IRS Agent to Pro-Life Group: ‘Please Explain in Detail the Activities at [Your] Prayer Meetings’
Oh and speaking of those Tea Party groups, they totally had it coming from the IRS, according to Dem. Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington State today:
McDERMOTT: As I listen to this discussion, I’d like to remind everyone what we’re talking about here. None of your organizations were kept from organizing, or silenced. We’re talking about whether or not the American taxpayers will subsidize your work. We’re talking about a tax break. If you didn’t come in and ask for this tax break, we would have never had a question to ask of you. You could go out there and say anything in the world. I get the feeling that many of you, and my Republican colleagues, just don’t believe — or believe you should be free not just from political targeting, but from any scrutiny at all.
At the PJ Tatler, Bryan Preston writes:
Notice, by the way, McDermott’s use of the word “we” in this sentence.
If you didn’t come in and ask for this tax break, we would have never had a question to ask of you.
Who’s “we” in this context? Did McDermott just confess to something?
IRS targeted donors to GOP group, too
...At the same time the Internal Revenue Service was targeting tea-party groups, the tax agency took the unusual step of trying to impose gift taxes on donors to a prominent conservative advocacy group formed in 2007 to build support for President George W. Bush’s Iraq troop surge.
The probe of the group, Freedom’s Watch, began in the unit led by Lois Lerner, the IRS official already under scrutiny for her role in the more recent targeting of conservative groups.
While the IRS confirmed the existence of the gift-tax initiative in 2011, the identity of the group involved—as well as the affiliation of individual donors—remained a mystery.
Former officials of Freedom’s Watch say they believe all five of the IRS audits involved donors to their group, based on conversations with IRS agents and donors at the time of the audits in 2011.
...In February 2010, the same month the tea-party targeting started, according to a recent inspector general’s report, Freedom’s Watch was subjected to an IRS audit that focused largely on its political activities, an uncommon but not unprecedented action, election lawyers say. The probe broadened into other areas, including executive compensation.
About a year later, as many as five donors to Freedom’s Watch were subjected to IRS audits of their contributions that sought to impose gift taxes on their donations to the group, according to lawyers and former officials of Freedom’s Watch.
Tax experts say that effort was highly unusual. The IRS generally hadn’t sought to impose the gift tax on donations to tax-exempt groups such as Freedom’s Watch in at least 20 years, perhaps longer, following an unfavorable court ruling and changes in the law by Congress, according to lawyers and IRS documents.
The IRS action “was kind of like a nuclear bomb going off,” said Rob Kelner, who heads the election-law practice at Covington & Burling LLP. “Although we always knew this was a possibility, it disrupted that long-standing understanding among election lawyers that this was an area where the IRS wasn’t likely to go.”...
IRS employee in bombshell congressional interviews about tea party targeting: 'Washington, DC wanted some cases ... I sent seven'
...'Did [your supervisor] give you any indication of the need for the search [for tea party groups], any more context?' one IRS witness was asked in a closed-door interview.
'He told me that Washington, D.C., wanted some cases,' came the reply.
The employee, who said he or she was evaluating 40 such applications for tax-exempt status from conservative organizations at the time, said 'some went to Washington. D.C. ... I sent seven.'...
...'[The] allegation has been made, I think as you have seen in lots of press reports, that there were two rogue agents in Cincinnati that are sort of responsible for all of the issues that we have been talking about today.,' the investigator noted. 'What do you think about those allegations?'
'It's impossible.,' the employee replied. 'As an agent we are controlled by many, many people. We have to submit many, many reports. So the chance of two agents being rogue and doing things like that could never happen.'...
Video: Tea Party activist describes IRS intimidation tactics
... My personal favorite was question No. 33, which in relation to protests asked for a listing of our “committed violations of local ordinances, breaches of public order or arrests” then requested details on how we “conduct or promote” illegal activities.
I think the IRS needs to fix its labeling machine: We’re the San Fernando Valley Patriots, not Occupy Oakland....