Sunday, February 19, 2012

Waco Tea party “guilty until proven innocent”

IRS backlash centers in Cincinnati office

...Also, the information you submit should be accompanied by the following declaration:
Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this information, including accompanying documents and, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the information contains all the relevant facts relating to the request for the information, and such facts are true, correct, and complete...we will be required by law to make the application and the information that you submit in response to this letter available for public inspection...

It appears that IRS investigators are targeting Tea Parties that applied for not-for-profit tax exemption status under §501(c)(4) of the U.S. Tax Code.

A top official of the Waco Tea Party called to raise hell about the matter.

Toby Marie Walker's voice comes over the phone hot, her tone vehement.

“None of us have ever received any pay for the things we do for the Tea Party!” She claims she and her husband have contributed thousands to the cause of limited government, free markets, and lower taxes.

“But with the IRS, you're guilty until proven innocent,” she fairly shouts. When she and Michael Simon received compensation for services provided political candidates' campaigns, they had taken a leave of absence from their duties at the Tea Party, she explained.

It's all about a letter the organization received – along with many other such local Tea Parties – that originated at an IRS office in Cincinnati, Ohio, near House Speaker John Boehner's district.

The Waco Tea Party released a copy of the letter they received earlier this weekend on the group's Facebook page.

It'a a real doozy. You can read it by clicking here.

As the group's Facebook announcement states, they applied for the coveted 501(c)(4) not for profit tax exempt status of a civic organization in June of 2010, paid an $850 fee and settled down to wait.

That was before the U.S. Supreme Court handed down Citizen United v. FEC, a holding that set political organizations free to electioneer, advertise and make in-kind contributions to their heart's content, nullifying FEC regulations against such practices. It all started with a video produced by the Citizen United organization that made many unflattering remarks and drew unattractive conclusions about Hilary Rodham Clinton's political record. When the FEC came down on the organization, they sued, and the case wound up in the high court.

The neoconservative world hasn't been quite the same since then.

You can read all about it here, by clicking on the Waco Tea Party's Facebook page and reading the update.

After waiting for the tax man's decision since summer of 2010, they are now asked to come up with these kind of answers:

“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 that have been published about you.

“2. Provide copies of the pages of your social networking sites...

“5. Provide your actual revenues and expenditures for 2010 and 2011, and a projection of the 2012 revenues and expenditures. Please be very explicit about your expenditures...

“7. Provide copies of the agendas and minutes of any Board meetings, and, if applicable, membership meetings, in which electoral issues were discussed or to which candidates for political office were invited...

“11. List the dates of the radio shows in which candidates for political office were invited or in which candidates as candidates were mentioned by name. Please provide transcripts of the pertinent parts of those shows...”

The letter also demands percentages of time spent on member events in which electoral issues are discussed; financial or other support to candidates, slates of candidates, or political parties; compilation and distribution of candidate quesstionnaires, voter guides, incumbent or candidate ratings, and so forth; member events in which only legislative issues are discussed.”

And the list goes on – and on.

Ms. Walker estimates it will cost the group anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 to comply fully, but there is a catch.

They have until February 23 to respond. The letter of inquiry was dated Feb. 1. It was received in the Tea Party's mailbox on the 7th. All the way from Cincinnati, O-HI-Oh-Ho-Ho (click here for the minority report)

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