IRS Grilled Tea Party Groups on Relationship to True the Vote
At least two Texas Tea Party groups have reported that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) questioned them on their relationship to the election integrity organization True the Vote and its parent group, the King Street Patriots Tea Party.
True the Vote was created by the Houston-based King Street Patriots Tea Party group, and both groups were founded and led by Catherine Engelbrecht.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Robert Gonzalez of the Houston, TX area Clear Lake Tea Party revealed that he and his wife Lisa received the same type of probing and scrutinizing questions as other Tea Party and conservative groups, but theirs came with a specific question about one of Engelbrecht’s groups.
“The IRS wanted to know what our relationship was to ‘King City Patriots,’ but it was clear they meant Catherine Engelbrecht’s ‘King Street Patriots,’” said Gonzalez. “My wife Lisa founded this Tea Party, and of course we knew Catherine; everyone does. But to be specifically questioned by the federal government about her? If we had not previously known her, we would have thought she was of questionable character or something by them asking that,” he added.
Julie McCarty, president of the NE Tarrant Tea Party, another Tea Party leader from the Dallas, TX area, said she was also probed by the IRS about one of Engelbrecht’s efforts. “In the probing questions we received from the IRS, there was a question specifically asking us about our relationship to one of Catherine’s and True the Vote’s efforts named Verify the Recall,” said McCarty.
“We received the same intrusive questions others received,” said McCarty. “Strangely, they were even more specific about the True the Vote effort. They asked further questions about our relationship to them. The True the Vote effort was the only one the IRS specifically identified and asked questions about.”
“The IRS works through intimidation," she asserted. "That’s what they do. We felt those questions were designed to get us to stop participating in the effort. The questions were designed to scare people into just quitting."
The ongoing IRS scandal has already revealed that the tax collecting agency targeted efforts of conservatives to outreach to Hispanic communities, provided conservatives’ confidential information to at least one left-of-center group, and implied that the IRS’s scrutiny may have been part of a larger federal effort to silence or obstruct conservatives prior to the 2012 US presidential election. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has now been implicated in the IRS scandal, as well, by their actions toward True the Vote.
Engelbrecht’s experiences with the federal government are seemingly unique among Tea Party groups in that she owns several businesses, thus providing more windows for various federal agencies to scrutinize her--and they did just that.
Shortly after filing for True the Vote’s 501(c3) status with the IRS and beginning her efforts to ensure voter accountability, a myriad of federal agencies entered her life. Not only did they IRS began sending a series of probing and exhaustive questionnaires, but they began to audit both Engelbrecht personally and her businesses.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began to call her with questions, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) began to do surprise audits of one of her businesses, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began to audit one of her businesses, and a Texas state environmental agency began an audit as well.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore