Kevin, as you suspect, the IRS statement is nonsense. At the ACLJ, we represent 27 targeted conservative groups across 18 states. These groups were not merely asked to provide routine follow-up information at a greater rate than others, the questions themselves were intrusive and blatantly unconstutional. I posted about this issue last May when we began representing the first of the groups. Here’s a sample of some of the questions:
Do you directly or indirectly communicate with members of legislative bodies? If so, provide copies of the written communications and contents of other forms of communications.
Please describe the associate group members and their role with your organization in further detail. (a) How does your organization solicit members? (b) What are the questions asked of potential members? (c) What are the selection criteria for approval? (d) Do you limit membership to other organizations exempt under 501(c)(4) of the Code? (e) Provide the name, employer identification number, and address of the organizations.
Do you have a close relationship with any candidate for public office or political party? If so describe fully the nature of that relationship.
In addition, they asked for such things as the résumés of board members and disclosure of family members’ identities. I shouldn’t even have to explain how unconstutional this is. Also, to be clear, these are questions designed not just to create a paperwork burden for tea-party groups but also to dissect their operations and to chill even the activities of family members.
Moreover, if the IRS claims this was a localized problem, we had voluminous communications with IRS offices in California, Washington D.C., and in the Ohio office that was the alleged source of the problem.
We’re demanding the IRS immediately grant tax-exempt status to the remaining groups we represent. They’ve granted exemptions to 14 so far, but 13 groups remain in limbo.
And to think, Obamacare expands IRS power. Chilling.