Conservatives who were given extra scrutiny for their tax-exempt status applications were before a Congressional panel yesterday to tell their tales of woe.
These are not the big name groups with $100-million budgets running television ads and trying to sway elections, without disclosing their big money donors. These are the little guys, grassroots organizations. Dianne Belsom is with the Laurens County Tea Party.
DIANNE BELSOM: On July 22nd, 2010, we filed for 501c4 status with the IRS and paid the application fee of $400.
KEITH: And then, as detailed in the Inspector General’s report, like many groups, she waited and waited.
BELSOM: Nothing more was heard until September 6th, 2012 when we received a communication from the IRS requesting extremely burdensome additional information.
KEITH: Questions like: Who attended her group’s events, what questions were asked to politicians at a candidates’ forum, information about what was posted on the group’s Facebook page. There were a lot of questions.
Texas Republican Kevin Brady was among many Democrats and Republicans alike who expressed outrage at what had happened to groups like Belsom’s.
REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN BRADY: Did you ever imagine that the government could target you like this?
BELSOM: I mean, you know, that wasn’t something I was thinking about. You know, I thought we lived in a free republic. But honestly, I feel like our country has turned a corner into tyranny. And it’s – I honestly have lost sleep over just being in fear of what our government might do next.
In the first place, waiting two years to get tax-exempt status from the IRS is not unusual. I can tell you from personal experience that it takes a very long time thanks to the backlog of applications. Everybody waits.
Second, being questioned by the IRS about a request to avoid paying taxes isn’t something that they’re supposed to rubber-stamp. That’s not to defend the folks who put the Tea Partiers under extra and burdensome scrutiny; that was stupid and whoever did that should get dope-slapped or worse. But what the irony-challenged anti-tax people are complaining about is getting the permission to be freeloaders… like the DFH’s they’re complaining about. So no matter how you feel about paying taxes, trying to get out of doing it is something that the IRS should not take lightly.
Third, if Ms. Belsom thinks that getting a questionnaire from the IRS is her idea of “tyranny,” she doesn’t know jack about tyranny. If this was a true tyranny, she would never have been allowed to appear before Congress to lodge her complaint. She’d be in FEMA camp being re-educated.
By the way, Steve M. has a nice run-down of some of the “social welfare” material these folks want to not pay taxes for promoting. Noooo, it’s not political at all.