The watchdog group Judicial Watch finally received documents requested in 2013 from the U.S. government via Freedom of Information Act requests.
Those documents relate to the Internal Revenue Service’s formal targeting of conservative groups for extra scrutiny and special handling on requests for tax exempt status.
One high profile senator’s exchanges are included in the documents. Carl Levin, a Democrat from Michigan, made it clear he wanted conservative groups targeted. JW cited a “series of letters” from Levin in 2012, and the senator’s March 30, 2012 message stressed the “urgency of the issue.”
Although Levin’s messages had to be obtained by the FOIA requests, a like-minded letter from seven other Democrats is still posted on the website of Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York. That letter is dated March 12, 2012.
The contents of Schumer’s letter made it clear the seven senators wanted “social welfare” groups reined in. That letter did not specify conservative groups, but the timing as well as public statements by Schumer and other Democrats clearly aimed to restrict groups progressives had targeted ahead of the November, 2012 elections.
Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Tom Udall (N.M.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), and Al Franken (Minn.) joined Schumer in signing the letter.
Schumer and the staff of the Senate Rules Committee had even shut down a meeting for government reform supporters in November, 2011. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) had arranged the meeting for a discussion of the federal budget. In March of that year, Schumer had specifically and publicly called tea party supporters the “extreme element” of the GOP. The meeting was scheduled for the Russell Office Building in Washington. That building is owned by U.S. taxpayers.
Plans for the budget reform meeting had been laid well in advance. Schumer had the door locked and mics shut off before the meeting was to begin.
Across the board, Democrats had targeted the so-called tea party movement by various means, including false accusations of racism.
Supporters of the tea party movement did educate the public, on issues related to spending, the U.S. Constitution, and the role of the federal government in the affairs of the people. The movement has clearly from the start aimed at social welfare, but from a traditional conservative position. Supporters of these groups have been critical of both Republicans and Democrats who push a big government philosophy.
Including words like “patriot” or “tea party” in a title when applying for tax exempt status would automatically flag a group’s application.
The term “tea party” originated in 1773 with a protest that was a major moment in the colonies’ attempts at freedom as the American Revolution began. Nothing can be more American than “tea party.”
Ironically, progressive groups that were as conspicuous as the Statue of Liberty continued business as usual, with campaigns obviously hostile to the Republican Party. One example is Media Matters, and a cursory glance at the website’s front page on any given day yields coverage of stories aligned with policies pushed by Democrats. Donations to that group are tax deductible.
Furthermore, in May, 2013, even the left of center Washington Post admitted IRS retroactively gave tax exempt status to what any rational being would view as a sketchy group headed by Abon’go Malik Obama, the brother of the president.
The IRS scandal is breathtaking in scope and reprehensible in nature. Powerful elected officials in the U.S. government sought to degrade the ability of government reform groups ahead of the November, 2012 elections. Judicial Watch has done a remarkable job in investigating illicit actions by bureaucrats and members of Congress who had no authority or right to infringe on the First Amendment.
However, the assault was not only done privately in government cubicles. That assault was done publicly and brazenly at the highest levels of the federal government, as Schumer and Levin’s letters demonstrate, and the impact assaulted the freedoms every American has a right to.
No political party has the right to shut down voices of Americans attempting to exercise their rights.
Letter from Schumer and six other Democrats in U.S. Senate (U.S. Senate)
Judicial Watch documents prove IRS headquarters targeted tea party (Judicial Watch)
Tea Partiers should file lawsuit; Schumer should be removed… (The US Report)
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/May 15, 2014)
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