As Republicans continue to gin up the IRS “scandal” of targeting Tea Party groups for claiming non-profit status on their taxes, some interesting omissions from our friends on the Right. The rash of non-profit applications by Tea Party and Right Wing anti-tax groups stemmed from the passage of Citizens United; the IRS offices were simply overwhelmed with applications and most of the reporting seems to reveal that agents tried to find a way to streamline the work via keyword searches.
First and foremost, the IRS is supposed to investigate non-profit status on an organization before granting that status and the groups must be involved in social justice not political activity. The Tea Party and its related groups fails miserably on that count alone. Secondly, the IRS investigation into Tea Party groups began in 2010 at the request of seven Republicans targeted by the Tea Party in primary battles.
From Crooks and Liars:
Seven Republican members of Congress filed complaints with the IRS in 2010, claiming Tea Party groups engaged in partisan electioneering, leading to an IRS probe, according to agency documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) launched an examination of the Tea Party on Oct. 8, 2010, claiming a speech by a Tea Party leader made during the organization’s annual convention that criticized President Barack Obama’s education and foreign policies crossed the line from issue advocacy to partisan electioneering. [...]
And in a more thorough review of Tea Party applications, the detail not being covered is not a single application for non-profit status was denied even after profiling when a simple search would easily reveal the Tea Party’s political advocacy. This report from the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights documents that not a single right wing group has their status denied:
Some of the flagged groups did have their tax-exempt status delayed or did face some additional scrutiny, but not a single group has been denied tax-exempt status.
A May 14 draft report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that none of the 296 questionable applicants had been denied, “For the 296 potential political cases we reviewed, as of December 17, 2012, 108 applications had been approved, 28 were withdrawn by the applicant, none had been denied, and 160 cases were open from 206 to 1,138 calendar days (some crossing two election cycles).” (p. 14)
In fact, the only known 501(c)(4) applicant to recently have its status denied happens to be a progressive group: the Maine chapter of Emerge America, which trains Democratic women to run for office. Although the group did no electoral work, and didn’t participate in independent expenditure campaign activity either, its partisan nature disqualified it from being categorized as working for the “common good.”
The Orange County Tea Party, which has its own blog here, has announced a their participation in a Nationwide Tea Party Protest at the IRS’s Santa Ana office Tuesday May 21.
The OC Tea Party identifies itself as follows:
What is the tea party movement?
It is a movement of WE THE PEOPLE who want to (i) restore our nation to our Founding Father’s wise and timeless original intent, and (ii) preserve our nation of liberty, freedom and equality (eliminate the gross power of special interests).
There are two main purposes of the tea party movement.
- #1 -It is to educate, organize and activate WE THE PEOPLE.
- #2 -It is also to call out the governments’ unconstitutional acts including naming those individuals or groups that support those acts.
What we believe:
In an attempt to identify the movement more clearly, we have attempted to list the tea party movement’s tenants below. The list started out small, but has grown – indicative of the enormous challenges facing the American people. This list is not inclusive or exclusive, however, if you find yourself unable to hold onto too many of the tenants, you may want to reconsider whether you are part of the tea party movement.
1. We believe that America is good and exceptional. We are patriotic and law abiding. We are concerned for the poor, the hungry and the oppressed but do not believe it is the governments’ role to alleviate these problems through forced taxation. We believe it is the voluntary responsibility of individuals, families, the communities of faith and religion, and other non-profits. We, ourselves, routinely participate in charity.
2. We believe in our Founding Fathers’ original intent, including reliance on, and reverence of, the Judeo-Christian God, and the necessary and rightful free exercise thereof in the civic arena on the local, state or federal level.
3. We believe that our current federal government, namely Congress (both Republicans and Democrats), has over-stepped its Constitutional enumerated powers and is leading America into its demise.
4. We believe that the federal government has been overtaken by the powerful elite progressives both within government and without (special interests) whose underlying agenda is to create an oligarchy with some form of democratic socialism (social justice) and communism enslaving us through increased spending, unreasonable taxation and overbearing government intrusion.
5. We believe that the federal Department of Education is a prime example of an unconstitutional agency wasting and corrupting America. We believe the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Commerce are prime examples of overreach and intrusion of states rights and individual rights.
6. We believe that the tea party has very little in common with the Occupy Wall Street movement, and that OWS originated and is being fed by the very same powerful elite progressives mentioned above in #4.
7. We believe that family and individuals are most important, not the collective. We believe the powerful elite progressives’ agenda is the destruction of the American family and its values.
8. We honor and praise our military and all police/sheriff and fire forces. We believe it is because they freely give the ultimate sacrifice, America is the land of the free, home of the brave and the most highly desired country worldwide.
9. We believe in the right to pursue happiness and believe that capitalism or competition ensures our ability to do so which means personal responsibility and the right to work as hard as we want using our unique gifts and talents. We believe it produces and encourages the best in everyone securing and growing the middle class, fostering great innovations that benefit all of society in the most fair and equitable manner possible.
10. We believe that entitlements are necessary for the few and would be best served by communities of faith and other non-profits voluntarily rather than through forced taxation. We believe Americans have always been generous and caring, especially for the downtrodden or unfortunate.
11. We believe that ObamaCare is unconstitutional, will not solve the problems of the un-insured and will not work. We believe it is unsustainable due to the bureaucracies it will create exploding its costs each year and therefore limiting innovations, hospitals, doctors and equipment. We also believe it will ruin the quality of care as it continues to exploit the doctors, the hospitals and the doctor/patient relationship disallowing necessary testing and procedures.
12. We believe that laws should be enforced to stop illegal immigration and a fence be built along our southern border. We acknowledge that this is a security issue as well as an economic issue and American sovereignty issue of language and culture. We believe Americans have a right to desire, protect and secure its sovereignty as well as require future citizens to assimilate. In addition, discussion of illegal immigration reform cannot be had until the borders are secured, not just merely promised.
13. We believe that special interests and groups divided among class or wealth, race or nationality, sexual preferences or identities, geographic or political parties are being used as tools by the powerful elite progressives to divide rather than to unite or help flourish the American Dream for all.
14. We believe that Islam with its undeniable strong nexus to Shariah Law breeds terrorism. We acknowledge the history of Islamic terrorism from our nation’s early days to the present. We acknowledge the dominant leaders of Islam worldwide that call Israel, “the little Satan,” and America, “the great Satan,” and thus their hatred toward Israel and America calling for their destruction. We acknowledge their agenda to establish a caliphate (dominance of the world under Shariah Law) even within America and, therefore, must be exposed and stopped.
15. We believe that environmentalism has become a means to be used by the government to severely control people and businesses and raise revenue (taxes, fees, penalties, cap & trade) for the government to use, not only for good justifiable programs but also mainly for payoffs, corruption and for its insatiable desire to ever increase and sustain the bureaucracy.
16. We believe in traditional marriage and that forcing the normalization of other sexual identities is an infringement on our 1st amendment rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
17. We believe in pro-life. We believe that society has been deceived into believing that abortion is a necessity for a civil government and that life does not begin at conception. We believe that if the pro-life merits were presented equally and fairly, any reasonable person would have to come to the conclusion that it is in the best interests of society that we be a society that promotes life for the unborn.
Articles on the blog ask if God has abandoned America is the wake of President Obama’s re-election. It calls for boycotting Muslims. And my favorite, that Hamas controls Orange County.
What any of these positions has to do with social justice is beyond me. As far as education and social justice goes, there are a considerable number of sites who fact check Tea party groups and their leaders like Congresswoman Michelle Bachman and Senator Rand Paul who constantly get facts wrong or just make up stuff out of whole cloth. Bachman claims ObamaCare will kill people; Paul suggested the UN will seek to take away firearms from average Americans.
The fact of the matter, Tea Party groups are engaged in one activity — political activism designed to elected only the far right wing members of the GOP. The IRS should revoke their not for profit status based on that alone.