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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thomas More Society: IRS Targeted Pro-Life Organizations Also

By Susan Duclos

The Thomas More Society claims that the IRS scandal reports of IRS officials targeting conservative groups based on keywords such as "Tea Party, Patriots and 9/12," is just the tip of the iceberg and that pro-life organizations were targeted as well by the IRS.

In one case, the IRS withheld approval of an application for tax exempt status for Coalition for Life of Iowa. In a phone call to Coalition for Life of Iowa leaders on June 6, 2009, the IRS agent “Ms. Richards” told the group to send a letter to the IRS with the entire board’s signatures stating that, under perjury of the law, they do not picket/protest or organize groups to picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood. Once the IRS received this letter, their application would be approved. After a series of letters following a request for more invasive information, Thomas More Society special counsel Sally Wagenmaker sent a letter to the IRS demanding the tax exempt status be issued immediately.

Wagenmaker summarized her concerns about what she called “the IRS’s disturbing ability” to stall and suppress legitimate applicants. She explained how through lengthy questionnaires and wrong citations of applicable law (as in the case of Coalition for Life of Iowa), applicants with less fortitude or without access to legal advocates like the Thomas More Society will be effectively silenced from exercising their constitutional freedoms. Wagenmaker added, “The IRS’s role should only be to determine whether organizations fit the section 501(c)(3) test for ‘charitable, religious, or educational’ qualification, not to inquire about the content of prayers, protests, and petitions. It’s high time that the IRS be called to account for its workers’ potential to trample on our constitutional rights, through such ostensibly innocuous means…what the Ways and Means committee will discuss may only be the tip of the iceberg of IRS abuses.”

In another similar case, the IRS withheld approval of an application for charitable tax-exempt recognition of Christian Voices for Life, questioning the group’s involvement with “40 Days for Life” and “Life Chain” events. The Fort Bend County, Texas, organization was subjected to repeated and lengthy unconstitutional requests for information about the viewpoint and content of its educational communications, volunteer prayer vigils, and other protected activities.

“The application of Christian Voices for Life clearly indicated that the organization qualified as a charitable organization under section 501(c)(3),” stated Sally Wagenmaker. She added, “The IRS seemed to be intent on denying or delaying tax-exempt status based upon the organization’s pro-life message, rather than any legitimate exemption concern, through its exhaustive, cumbersome questioning. The implication that Christian Voices for Life somehow intended to engage in illegal activity was insulting.”

This and other headlines today show the illegal IRS activities go beyond what was originally reported and possibly more widespread than detailed in the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report showing inappropriate targeting of conservatives blaming "ineffective management" for the targeting of Tea Party groups and other conservatives.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew requested - and has accepted - the resignation of the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Steven T. Miller. (Letter of resignation shown here)

Initially it ad been reported that the IRS has identified two "rogue" employees in the agency's Cincinnati office as being principally responsible for the "overly aggressive" handling of requests by conservative groups for tax-exempt status, a congressional source told CNN, but subsequent reports now show that at least four IRS employees have been linked to the scandal.

FOX19 has exclusively learned that as many as four people may be the first Cincinnati Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees to face disciplinary action, and possibly even criminal charges, for allegedly targeting Tea Party and Liberty groups applying for non-profit status.

 As to the excuses given for the massive targeting, where IRS claimed new criteria was developed in response to a "spike" in applications, the data provided in the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report   debunks that claim since 501(c)(4) applications for all of 2010 was actually less than in 2009.

According to the audit, 1,735 groups applied for 501(c)(4) exemption for the federal fiscal year that ended September 30, 2010—six months after the IRS began its scrutiny. That was down slightly from 1,751 the prior year.

The number grew to 2,265 during the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2011, and to 3,357 in 2012. By then the criteria the IRS was using to flag groups had changed three times to include searches for groups with names that contained “Bill of Rights,” “educating on the constitution,” and “limiting/expanding government.”

Mr. Miller wrote in USA Today on Monday that the IRS began to centralize those applications in 2010 because the division that supervises tax-exempt organizations observed a sharp increase in the number of applications from groups “potentially engaged in political campaign intervention” that were seeking either 501(c)(4) status or designation as a 501(c)(3) charity. He then cites the increase between 2010 and 2012.

The audit shows that 501(c)(3) applications also declined in both 2010 and 2011 from the previous years.
 Public Opinion 

57 percent of US. likely voters believe the illegal and "inappropriate" IRS targeting was politically motivated, according to the latest Rasmussen poll and 55 percent believe it is at least somewhat likely that Obama or his top advisers were aware of the IRS probes into Tea Party and other conservative groups.


George Soros Gave $6.1 Million To Groups That Pressured IRS To Target Conservatives

Full Wake up America coverage on the IRS scandal can be found here.