DFW Tea Party group was among those targeted by the IRS

Posted Wednesday, May. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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At least one North Texas conservative group was among those targeted for additional scrutiny by the IRS in recent years, local officials say.

North East Tarrant Tea Party officials say their organization became a focus of the government after seeking tax-exempt status. That’s when federal officials gave them a laundry list of more than a dozen requests for additional information.

“We haven’t talked about it much but, YES, we at NETTP were harassed for years by the IRS,” a message posted on the group’s website read. “In fact, they didn’t come after us just once, but twice.”

The IRS asked the group to provide a slew of information, such as every tweet from its Twitter account, a printout of every page of its website, résumés of all board members, copies of every flier the group ever made or handed out, copies of every Facebook post, the name of every volunteer who has worked with the group and a copy of every email sent by the group.

“This is only a partial list of the heavy-handed, police-state tactics designed to intimidate us out of existence,” the website stated. “P.S. We didn’t name names either.”

Group members said that they provided much of the information to the American Center for Law & Justice to help with the case against the IRS but that it was not shared with the IRS.

“The whole thing was an attempt to get us to stop, to give up,” Julie McCarty, president of the North East Tarrant Tea Party, told reporters. “This shows we’re not just some wacko conspiracy theorists. They really did target us.

“Everybody, every single American, should be freaking out.”

The American Center for Law & Justice, a nonprofit that is representing nearly three dozen Tea Party groups nationwide, sent a letter to the IRS this week calling on the government to process long-pending requests for tax-exempt status — including the one for the North East Tarrant Tea Party — by Friday or risk legal action.

“The IRS must be held accountable for this dishonest and notoriously disgraceful conduct,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the group. “We are demanding that the IRS grant our remaining clients tax-exempt status immediately.

“If that does not occur by Friday, we will advise our clients of their right to sue the IRS for the redress of their grievances.”

Cornyn on the attack

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said recently that his office has received complaints for years of “unfair treatment by the IRS” from conservative groups in Texas.

“They cited excessive, unreasonable and improper inquiries from the IRS and feared that they were being targeted for their political beliefs,” Cornyn said.

He said he sent letters to the IRS asking for an investigation.

At the time, he said, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman “categorically denied that the IRS was targeting specific groups.”

“Two years later, we learned that he was wrong and the conservative groups were right,” Cornyn said. “The IRS was systematically targeting people of a certain ideology — one that happens to be at odds with the current administration.”

As information continues to be released, numerous Republicans say they have been reviewed by the IRS.

And now many wonder whether they were singled out because of their political beliefs.

“It makes you wonder,” Charlie Moncrief, a local oilman who raised money for Mitt Romney’s presidential bid last year, told ABC News.

“You just don’t know,” he said. “But given what’s out there now, you have to ask the question.”

Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610 Twitter: @annatinsley

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