Lois Lerner 2.0? Conservatives Warned IRS Is Lining Up

(Congress Report) – Do you remember back when Barack Obama was president and he was running for reelection in 2012? A big controversy was exposed involving the Internal Revenue Service and Lois Lerner, concerning the agency purposefully targeting conservative non-profit organizations simply because of their political leanings. It was a pretty egregious violation of the First Amendment by the administration.

Well, the IRS is at it again, lining up the sequel to Lois Lerner in what is sure to be a horrific tale of political persecution.

“Much as the Obama IRS targeted conservative groups for audits, the tax collection agency has subjected an elections nonprofit to a battery of prying questions about its policy positions, language choices and methodology for arriving at correct opinions and conclusions prior to peremptorily rejecting its application for tax-exempt status without appeal,” Natalia Mittlestadt wrote for Just the News.

“Starting in 2010, the IRS Exempt Organizations Unit directed by Lois Lerner targeted the Tea Party and other conservative groups for intrusive scrutiny, effectively freezing them with lengthy audits. After the politically motivated harassment was exposed in 2013, the Obama administration claimed to find the IRS actions ‘inexcusable.’ But after Lerner invoked her 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid testifying before Congress and the House cited her for contempt, the Obama Justice Department declined to pursue criminal charges,” Mittlestadt continued.

In a situation that is eerily reminiscent of the Lerner scandal, the Biden administration’s IRS subjected election education nonprofit Adams, Baldwin, and Covey Foundation, Inc. to an interrogation the organization believes was a violation of its First Amendment rights.

The questions posed by the IRS are “further evidence that the Biden administration believes it has the authority to license thought and speech, and it doesn’t,” Phill Kline, one of the group’s founders, went on to say.

“The allegedly improper questions were contained in an interrogatory the agency sent the foundation in response to its application for tax-exempt status. The organization was instructed to respond to the questions under penalty of perjury,” Just the News reported.

“Some of the IRS questions reflect the far-reaching efforts by the Biden administration in collaboration with allies in the corporate and nonprofit worlds to recast dissent from official affirmations of the invariant purity of U.S. elections as ‘disinformation’ subject to censorship and even prosecution in the name of domestic security or ‘democracy,'” the article continued.

“The thought police have found a home in the Biden administration,” Kline stated.

Here is a sample of some of the questions the IRS asked the group:

IRS: “Have you held [a] particular position or view on certain issues or topics? If you do, please detail the position or views of your organization.”

Kline: “Please provide the justification for this request and also whether similar requests are made of all non-profit organizations addressing these and similar issues. [Adams, Baldwin, and Covey Foundation] views the Constitution as an enduring document that honors in application the intrinsic value of each and every individual achieved by respecting the inherent rights of the individual and the appropriate disbursement of governmental power. Elections provide an important expression of the power held by individual citizens and must, therefore, be transparent, inclusive, and accountable.”

IRS: “Do you have any policy/policies or guidance in place to avoid unsupported opinions or conclusions and inflammatory language in the activities?”

Kline: “ABC’s mission is to respect the intrinsic value of the individual and thereby does not seek to denigrate persons. Our work is subject to public scrutiny and challenge and [we] consistently work to answer such challenges in the marketplace of ideas. Similarly, government must respect the expression of individuals, particularly those with whom those presently in power disagree. ABC maintains this becomes difficult to do when government focuses the exercise of its power on conforming thought and speech to such vague terms as ‘inflammatory language’ as doing so invites the arbitrary and capricious application of governmental power.”

The IRS then asked, “Explain how you ensure that the contents presented in your educational activities are fair and unbiased facts that would permit an individual to form an independent opinion or conclusions based [on] the facts presented.”

Kline responded to the query by stating, “[P]articipation in ABC activities is voluntary and not compulsory. Persons are free to make-up their own minds and free to access other sources of information.”

Attorneys representing ABC submitted an application for tax exempt status to the IRS back on Sept. 28, 2021. The legal team did not hear back from the agency until Aug. 10, 2022, despite reaching out several times to follow up on the application. On that day, lawyers received a notice from the IRS that was dated for July 25 which declared the agency had turned down the application. The reason? The IRS asserted the group failed to respond to questions.

“The foundation’s attorneys say that it wasn’t until Sept. 25, 2022 that they received a letter from the IRS dated May 23 enclosing the interrogatory for the foundation, which it was instructed to respond to by June 20. Due to the belated arrival of the questions, Kline sent back his responses this month via his attorneys,” Mittlestadt noted in the report.

Kline then explained that the length of time the agency took to look into the application and issue a response was highly unusual, along with the fact they did not appear to follow up to receive answers to their questions.

Mittlestadt closed out the article by saying, “Kline said that according to ABC’s attorneys there is an 18-month fundraising grace period while an application for tax exempt status is pending. The foundation responded to the IRS in good faith despite confusion over some of its questions, he said, and transmitted its responses within the allotted 18-month window.”

Copyright 2023. CongressReport.com


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