The Spectacle Blog

IRS Politically Targeted Pro-Lifers

By on 5.15.13 | 4:04PM

Via Joel Gehrke at The Washington Examiner, new revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted pro-life groups regarding their protest activities directed at other non-profits, holding their applications for tax-exempt status hostage:

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.

This could be credibly interpreted as federal suppression of political speech, a heinous violation of the First Amendment. It also undermines the official IRS position that staffers were earmarking groups with specific terms like "Tea Party" in their names as a heuristic to investigate political activities which would compromise tax-exempt status. Groups were asked for information including donor lists, staff resumes, and in one case the minutes from board meetings.

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