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Beginning in 2010, several different IRS offices – including those in Cincinnati, Ohio; El Monte, California; Laguna Niguel, California; and Washington D.C. systematically discriminated against conservative groups. The targeting was not the work of a few “rogue” agents, as IRS commissioner Steven Miller initially claimed.
The IRS targeted organizations who “criticize how the country is being run” - singling out those with “tea party”, “9/12” and “patriot” in their names.
The agency harassed right-leaning 501(c)(3) applicants with intrusive questions, including “please detail the content of your members’ prayers."
160 such applications were delayed for over 200 days – some for more than three years and two election cycles.
During this period, the IRS approved applications from several dozen groups who used words like “progressive”, “liberal” and “equality.” Media Trackers, a conservative applicant that had been delayed for 16 months, was approved in three weeks after it reapplied under the name “Greenhouse Solutions.”
The White House account of these events has changed several times. While the White House initially maintained that it had learned about the scandal through the media, it has since been revealed that both Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew were aware of the scandal a month prior.
Under the Obama Administration, IRS higher-ups have treated themselves to extravagant entertainment and lavish conferences on the taxpayers’ dime. The agency spent over $60,000 producing two short films for fun. In one instance, the IRS “paid for the construction of an elaborate mock-up of the bridge of the starship Enterprise.” The IRS also spent millions on luxurious accommodations for its managers – in violation of its own policies - and paid $135,000 fees to at least 15 outside speakers. One speaker was paid $17,000 to discuss “leadership through art.”
Democrats have attempted to shield themselves from blame by pointing out that IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman was a Bush appointee. Shulman’s wife, however, is a senior employee at liberal group Public Campaign, an organization “dedicated to sweeping campaign reform that aims to dramatically reduce the role of big special interest money in American politics.”
Sarah Hall Ingram, who ran the IRS’ tax-exempt division during the targeting, is now the director of the IRS’ ObamaCare office. Since graduating from Georgetown Law, Ingram has never worked anywhere except the IRS. Interestingly, Ingram has visited the White House 165 times.
The IRS has been put in charge of enforcing ObamaCare. Federal agencies are currently assembling a “Federal Data Services Hub” in what has been called “the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic” by USA Today. Under ObamaCare, government-approved health insurance providers will submit reports about their customers to this database - where they will be monitored and cross-checked by the IRS. Although only 10% of Americans now say they have confidence in the IRS, we are apparently expected to trust the agency to oversee our healthcare.
After a report last week that rising insurance premiums would drive employers to dump 90 percent of workers’ health care plans by 2020, the IRS went into damage control mode using its preferred course of action: executive fiat.
Back in November, on the eve of Thanksgiving when they thought nobody would notice, the IRS surreptitiously announced its proposal of a new regulation that would severely limit the ability of tax exempt to groups to participate in the political process. The proposal was short on specifics, but the regulation would have given the IRS the power to narrowly define what constitutes “social welfare” and “political activity,” qualities it says organizations must exhibit in order to qualify for tax exempt status.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has a bone to pick with the tea party. Speaking in an interview not too long ago, he groused that conservatives under the tea party label are ruining the Republican brand and that their continued influence poses unacceptable risks to the upcoming elections in 2014.
Happy Birthday to the little movement that could.
Ignited by a spark from the most unlikely of places-a cable business news channel watched mostly by investors-and spread by social media, a surprising revolution had its most humble beginnings five years ago today.
Washington, DC- The House passed a one-year delay of the proposed IRS rules changes that would threaten to regulate conservative and libertarian 501(c)(4) non-profit groups out of existence. Sponsored by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), the “Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act H.R. 3865” passed the House with unanimous Republican support and 14 Democrat votes.
The Internal Revenue Service is attempting to change the standards for tax exempt status for 501(c)(4) groups. Rather than sticking to enforcing the will of Congress, the IRS, with the full blessing of the political operation in the White House, wants to ensure they won't have to harass conservative and tea party groups about their tax exempt status applications, because those groups won't even bother to apply. They need to hear from America.
As you may have heard, the IRS has proposed new rules that would severely restrict grassroots advocacy groups.
Under current IRS rules, the purpose of tax-exempt 501(c)(4) organizations is educate the public and promote "social welfare" causes, and they can't work primarily as political campaign organizations. Many 501(c)(4) entities are small grassroots organizations ran by local activists that want to participate in the political process.
Recently, I attended a speech that attempted to lay out a case that Ronald Reagan would not have been a Tea Party President. The speaker, a conservative not terribly familiar with the Tea Party movement, made an interesting case.