More information is coming out about how the IRS harassed groups critical of the government. Allegations are coming out that the agency audits businesses whose owners have questioned government actions and that it has leaked confidential tax records. Also, the Washington Post is reporting that the initiative to target conservative organizations came not from rogue agents in Cincinnati, as the IRS has claimed, but from a task force in Washington.
What the IRS did to the conservative organizations, going back to 2010, is in their handling of their tax exempt applications as non-profit organizations. They inundated the groups with paperwork, including the request for detailed information about donors and even volunteers. In addition, the agency would take up to 2 years to process the application! This effectively kept the new groups from functioning. After the jump, an organization’s spokesman tells what his group went through.
From the British Daily Mail:
Richmond Tea Party Executive Director Larry Nordvig did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But in 2012 his organization lashed out at the IRS for making ‘unreasonable documentation requests.’
‘This illustrates everything the American people find unacceptable from their government,’ the group said in a press release. ‘A simple request for tax-exempt status should not take years to complete, involve hundreds of pages of documentation, require hundreds of volunteer hours, and request private information we should never have to disclose.’
‘This grants the Federal Government the dangerous power to selectively stymie those voices with which they disagree, bogging them down in endless paperwork and compliance costs so that they are unable to spend time serving the principles they founded their organization to advance.’
The Virginia organization said it applied for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status on December 28, 2009 and waited nearly 10 months for a response, which consisted of 17 questions and a two-week deadline. That demand was made on the opening day of the Virginia Tea Party Convention, which the Richmond Tea Party organized in large part.
‘We fully complied,’ the group wrote, ‘providing over 500 pages of documentation. We received no response for over a year. Eventually the IRS sent a letter dated January 9, 2012, thanking us for our “complete and thorough responses” from the first request,’ but then asking 55 more questions in 12 parts – ‘including the totally inappropriate request for a full list of our donors and volunteers. We were given the same two-week timeframe for completion.’