Breitbart News has learned that Tea Party Patriots is asking its members to pressure Congress to conduct a full and thorough investigation into the IRS’s targeting of conservative and Tea Party organizations.
The organization is calling on Congress to conduct “substantive” investigative hearings in the wake of recent reports that senior IRS officials knew in 2011 exactly what was going on, despite initial claims that local “low-level” employees were the only ones involved in targeting conservatives.
Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin said that on Friday “we learned that the IRS lied to Congress and the American citizens when Douglas Schulman said there was ‘absolutely no targeting’ of Tea Party groups who applied for nonprofit status.” Martin was referencing Schulman’s March 2012 Congressional testimony.
Today we are learning that the IRS lied when they said that only “low-level employees” were to blame for outrageous and egregious overreach and abuse of power. The AP is reporting in June 2011, IRS division head Lois Lerner instructed employees to change the criteria for “flagging groups ‘immediately'” and in August 2011 “the IRS” Rulings and Agreements office “held a meeting with chief counsel so that everyone would have the latest information.”
A Saturday report by the Associated Press, citing a draft of a forthcoming Inspector General report, found that “senior Internal Revenue Service officials knew agents were targeting Tea Party groups as early as 2011.” The AP notes that this report’s findings “seemingly contradicts public statements by the IRS commissioner.”
On Friday, the IRS admitted to targeting conservative and Tea Party groups and apologized for the behavior. But with this new information, Martin said her organization “rejects the apology from the Internal Revenue Service.”
“It appears the IRS committed crimes and violated our ability to exercise our First Amendment Right to Free Speech,” Martin said. “A simple apology is not sufficient reparation for violating the Constitutional rights of United States citizens.”
In the release, Martin said Tea Party Patriots is “encouraged to hear that Congress plans to investigate. Those responsible must be held accountable and must resign or be terminated for their actions.”
Martin also asked conservative grassroots activists “around the country to help us with two things.”
First, she asked activists to help make sure “that the hearings in Congress are substantive and get to the bottom of this scandal to reveal how deep it runs, how many other lies the IRS has told related to the these tactics, and what will be done to insure no other group of citizens is so unfairly discriminated against solely because they are speaking out against rampant government.” She called on members to “call your Member of Congress and both of your Senators to let them know that we must get to the bottom of this scandal.”
Second, she said Tea Party Patriots needs to “hear from you if you or your local group has felt intimidated by the IRS actions over the last 4 years.”
Are you part of a local group who applied for tax-exempt status? What is the status of that application? Did you set out to form a group but were so intimidated by the IRS tactics that you abandoned that goal and wound up participating only as individuals rather than incorporating and coordinating activity with other groups?
Martin provided a website for conservatives to use to submit any stories of abuse, available here.