A day after Oklahoma’s disaster, some Tea Partiers’ top concern is the IRS

Posted Tuesday, May. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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kennedy One day after a devastating Oklahoma tornado, some Tea Party groups chose prayer and relief work over a scheduled IRS protest.

But not Watauga’s Boiling Point Tea Party.

Infuriated that the IRS investigated whether some Tea Parties violated tax law by taking political stands, the Boiling Point turned out six protesters strong in downtown Fort Worth.

“This is about our rights,” Keller Republican Marie Howard said. “We are a patriotic group.”

One man with her carried a sign: “IRS — Partisan Enforcer of Obamacare.”

A woman’s sign bore a large, shadowy caricature of the president holding a sock puppet: “Obama’s hand puppet (the IRS commissioner).”

To the Boiling Point, that’s patriotic.

Our laws are simple: Educational and issues-based groups don’t pay taxes as long as they don’t campaign for or against political candidates.

But Tea Parties have an easy way out: If they want to campaign, most Tea Parties can change invisible caps and operate as a parallel Tea Party PAC.

I asked Howard whether the protesters were from the Boiling Point or the Boiling PAC.

She grinned.

“Both,” she said.

Other local groups such as the Grapevine-based NE Tarrant Tea Party faced heavy-handed demands to prove they are not political and deserve tax-free status, but the Boiling Point was never a target, Howard said.

Yet members still picketed in outrage.

“We’re just trying to defend our rights and defend the Constitution,” she said.

In all, about 12 protesters turned out for the announced noon start, including Smart Meters opponent Cindy Carriger of North Richland Hills and a family and children from Argyle.

Larger groups had sent emails or posted Facebook messages discouraging the protest.

President Julie McCarty of the NE Tarrant Tea Party suggested that instead of picketing, Tea Partiers should donate to “help Oklahoma get back on its feet, and above all, please say regular prayers for those who are hurting and overwhelmed by loss.”

Depends on what you consider patriotic.

Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538 Twitter: @BudKennedy

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