The Internal Revenue Service scandal regarding the harassment of tea party groups who sought tax exempt status appears to be exploding as groups from Billy Graham’s apostolate to the National Organization for Marriage have come forward to say they were targeted. Meanwhile, the president’s half-brother received special treatment.
Various news outlets are reporting that the IRS scandal is burgeoning as new evidence is found that more than just conservative tea party groups were targeted for extra scrutiny. This extra scrutiny meant some applicants had to provide information such as copies of all of their Facebook posts, Web pages, blog posts, and social media postings. Some were asked to provide the resumes of their board members, transcripts of interviews with the media, or copies of all board meeting minutes since the creation of the organization. In some cases, the requests were so onerous the groups gave up and withdrew their application.
Others continued the process and are now suing for relief. For instance, National Organization for Marriage (NOM) president Brian Brown announced on Tuesday that his organization plans to sue the IRS for allegedly leaking their confidential donor information to gay activists.
“Not only has the IRS retaliated against conservative, small-government and tea party groups as they apply for recognition of tax exemption and lied about it, but it has criminally released our confidential tax return including the identity of dozens of major donors to a political enemy,” NOM President Brian Brown said in a statement.
According to Politico, both the Huffington Post and the Human Rights Campaign, a gay activist group, posted IRS documents showing contributions made by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to NOM.
“In addition to being our principal combatant in the war on traditional marriage, [the Human Rights Campaign’s] president at the time was serving as a co-chair of President Obama’s reelection campaign,” Brown said in Tuesday’s statement. “This is a chilling set of circumstances that should ring alarm bells across the nation.”
He plans to file suit later this month.
Todd Starnes of Fox Radio is reporting that Billy Graham’s ministries such as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse have also been the targets of IRS nit-picking, as has the Biblical Recorder, the news journal of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention.
Pro-life groups have also felt the wrath of the IRS. Peter Shinn, founder of the pro-life Cherish Life Ministries, said that when he filed for tax-exempt status, he was told he didn’t qualify because he didn’t provide information on abortion.
“The representative was telling me I had to provide information on all aspects of abortion, I couldn’t just educate the church from the pro-life perspective,” Shinn told World Net Daily.
In another case, the IRS withheld approval of an application for tax exempt status for Coalition for Life of Iowa, insisting that they send a letter to the IRS with signatures of their entire board stating that under perjury of the law, they would not picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood.
According to Politico, the Jewish organization, Z Street, sued the IRS in 2010 after being told their application for tax exempt status was delayed and sent to a “special unit…to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.”
Meanwhile, evidence has surfaced that the president’s half-brother received his tax-exempt status in record time, even though he had been operating his organization illegally prior to making application.
The Daily Caller is reporting that Lois Lerner, the same IRS official who revealed the agency’s habit of targeting tea partiers, signed the paperwork that granted tax exempt status to the Barack H. Obama Foundation, a somewhat shady charity headed by Abon’go “Roy” Malik Obama, the president’s half-brother. His application was approved within a month of filing while some conservative groups have been waiting as long as three years for their cases to be approved. Not only did he get approval in record time, but Lerner also granted him retroactive tax status.
As the Daily Caller reports, Malik Obama, who was the best man at the president’s wedding, has quite a history. “In addition to running his charity, Malik Obama ran unsuccessfully to be the governor of Siaya County in Kenya. He was accused of being a wife beater and seducing the newest of his twelve wives while she was a 17-year-old school girl.”
It’s no wonder that the latest Rasmussen poll found that 55 percent of the American people believe the President or his top aides knew what was going on at the IRS.
In spite of the agency’s repeated insistence that their behavior was not motivated by politics, the public isn’t buying it. A whopping 57 percent say they believe the agency’s behavior was all about politics.
The people also want to see something done about it to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Fifty-seven percent want disciplinary action taken against the perpetrators of the IRS scandal and want them to be either jailed or fired.
UPDATE: The acting head of the IRS, Steven Miller, announced yesterday that he is resigning his position over the scandal. However, Miller was planning to resign his position in June anyway, leading some to speculate that he was a willing scapegoat used by the Administration for political purposes.
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