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Tea Party revival

"Tea Party revival" Continued...

Family Talk Action Corporation, a Christian ministry led by prominent family advocate James Dobson, claimed it faced unreturned phone calls and other delays by the IRS while seeking 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status. At one point, an IRS reviewing agent said the application wouldn’t get approved because the group sounded like a “partisan right-wing group.” According to Family Talk Action’s account of the events, the IRS agent then said, “You’re political” because you “criticized President Obama, who was a candidate.”

After Family Talk Action threatened litigation, the IRS granted the 501(c)(4) status.

“The American people deserve better treatment from its government than this,” Dobson said in a statement. “Christian ministries and others supporting the family must not be silenced or intimidated by the IRS or other branches of the government.”

Obama denied Thursday having advance knowledge of the actions taken by the IRS, saying it is “simply unacceptable for there to even be a hint of partisanship or ideology when it comes to the application of our tax laws.” But the president rejected requests for an independent audit of the agency.

“I think that it’s going to be sufficient for us to be working with Congress,” Obama said. “They’ve got a whole bunch of committees. We’ve got IGs (inspector generals) already there. The IG has done an audit; it’s now my understanding they’re going to be recommending an investigation. And Attorney General [Eric] Holder also announced a criminal investigation of what happened. Between those investigations, I think we’re going to be able to figure out exactly what happened, who was involved, what went wrong, and we’re going to be able to implement steps to fix it.” 

That likely won’t be good enough for congressional Republicans who are calling for a greater probe. Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee asked Thursday that the examination of the IRS include discovering how confidential information given by conservative groups to the IRS ended up in the hands of organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign and ProPublica.

“What Americans want right now are answers about what happened at the IRS, why it wasn’t disclosed earlier, who was ultimately accountable for this behavior,” McConnell said. “Americans, be they conservative or liberal, should be free to participate in the political process without fear of harassment or intimidation from their very own government.”

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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