IRS Went After More Than the Tea Party

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IRS Scandal

As the scandal revolving around the IRS targeting of conservative groups grows, it is now being reported that it wasn’t only groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their titles but also those with conservative ideals in general.

One example is the experience of Sue Martinek of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who was a part of the Coalition for Life of Iowa, a pro-life organization. She first asked for tax-exempt status in 2008 through contact with an IRS agent identified only as Ms. Richards. In early 2009, the application was approved, but Richards added a condition; Coalition for Life’s board members had to sign a letter in which they promised not to picket in front of Planned Parenthood offices.

Martinek recalled, “We were pretty surprised. But we had never gone through the process before. I was sort of, ‘If we have to, we have to, but this doesn’t seem a good thing to do.’" She explained, "We’re certainly not about protesting and picketing. That happens to be a small part of what we do. When we do go to Planned Parenthood, we’re going there to pray.”

Another pro-life group, Christian Voices for Life of Fort Bend County, from suburban Houston, said the IRS also asked the group about protest plans, as well as for copies of grants and contracts. Marie McCoy, the group’s executive director, claims IRS Exempt Organization Specialist Tyrone Thomas wrote the group, “In your educational program, do you education on both sides of the issues in your program? … Do you try to block people to enter a building, e. medical clinic, or any other facility?”

McCoy, noting the egregious grammar, said, “My first thought was that this particular agent was incompetent and didn’t know the law.” Attempts to contact Thomas were unsuccessful.

The IRS has stonewalled questions about who created the questions, which the agency has since admitted were "inappropriate."


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