10 crazy things the IRS asked Tea Party groups

posted at 8:01 pm on May 10, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

The Internal Revenue Service admitted Friday to improperly targeting conservative groups for aggressive applications processes for tax exempt status in 2012, using the terms “Tea Party” and “patriot” as flags. Here are some of the things they wanted to know about those groups.

1. We’re gonna need all your direct and indirect communication. “‘Direct and indirect communications’ is profoundly chilling of First Amendment rights, ” said David French, senior counsel for American Center for Law & Justice, which has been representing 27 conservative organizations met with IRS inquisitions. “It’s so vague as to be impossible to comply with.”

IRS1

2. What do we need to know about your members? Nothing much. Just ALL THE THINGS!

IRS2

3. Your present and past employees and their relationships, please.

IRS3

4. No, family members of past and present board members and employees are not exempt, nor are their activities with other groups. Why do you ask?

IRS4

5. If someone in this country’s free press has ever interacted with you in any way shape or form about your free speech activities, we’re going to need documentation of that.

IRS5

6. By the way, all the insane, intrusive information we’re asking for is understood to be public once you’ve given it to us, so please include only the most flattering possible photos of your children and pets.

IRS6
7. There are very specific requirements for completing and submitting this insane, intrusive information we’re asking for. Does it feel like you’re running hurdles yet, Lolo?

IRS7

8. Don’t forget to read the continued very specific requirements for completing and submitting this insane, intrusive information.

IRS8

9. If you do not comply with these very specific requirements for completing and submitting this insane, intrusive application, you will go directly back to Start, you will not pass Go, and let’s face it, we will probably collect $200.

IRS9

10. Please predict the future reliably. Thank you for your time.

IRS10

IRS11

IRS12

All of the examples above are taken from actual IRS correspondence received by ACLJ’s 27 clients. There were many versions of the in-depth questionnaire sent to different organizations, suggesting there was more than one agent or one office involved. Though IRS officials blamed “low-level” employees in the Cincinnati office, which is the central IRS office in charge of tax exemptions, French said the abuse was far more widespread. ACLJ’s clients dealt with inquiries from IRS offices from “coast to coast.” Of ACLJ’s 27 clients, 15 finally had their status approved after 6-7 months with legal help. There are 12 groups whose status remains in limbo.

Update: I meant to add that a 2011 letter from Rep. Darrell Issa and Rep. Jim Jordan laid out 16 areas of the Tea Party questionnaires that seemed to overreach. Here they are.


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I don’t know if these are all that crazy. I mean when I was “randomly” selected for the census “long form” and it asked each member to tell when they left the house for work and when they returned, I just thought they were just being extremely thorough. You know, governmental effeciency.
You know like a literacy test. That’s what all of this is. Just a literacy test to see if your’re really qualified for participation in our great system. Yeah there’s a little “extra”-legal intimidation but hey, it’s the federal government, they’re here to help:)
But I think you’re kinda blowing this out of proportion MKH. I mean for cryeye this ain’t no pole tax or anything ;)

onomo on May 11, 2013 at 8:33 AM

@onomo: I’m sure the IRS sent the same requests to liberal organizations. But maybe some House committee should subpoena them just to be certain.

Seth Halpern on May 11, 2013 at 9:11 AM

However, if such exculpatory (though still reprehensible) data exists, then why didn’t the IRS cite that as a defense in the first place?
AesopFan on May 11, 2013 at 1:16 AM

This. Yet Brayam keeps braying like an idiot.

CW on May 11, 2013 at 9:40 AM

@onomo: I’m sure the IRS sent the same requests to liberal organizations. But maybe some House committee should subpoena them just to be certain.

Seth Halpern on May 11, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Heh. Good idea.

davidk on May 11, 2013 at 10:10 AM

@onomo: I’m sure the IRS sent the same requests to liberal organizations. But maybe some House committee should subpoena them just to be certain.

Seth Halpern on May 11, 2013 at 9:11 AM

I think they must perform this check and also acquire a list of everyone involved in the design and implementation of this task.

dogsoldier on May 11, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Low level people ask all sorts of questions, but they don’t create forms. Just check if this was a type written unique letter each time or boiler plate. If it was the later forget about “low level” anything.

Fred 2 on May 11, 2013 at 10:36 AM

I think the Congress should revisit exactly what is tax exempt status and also, what is Non Profit. Where do the revenues go, and who benefits from the charity? And colleges, public and private, need to be included in the category.

Fleuries on May 11, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Many of the leaders of our local TEA party group had been audited about a year ago or more. I think I commented on that when it happened.

JellyToast on May 11, 2013 at 8:30 AM

That’s a whole different level of harrassment, if they audited the PERSONAL tax returns of conservative organization leaders. Nixonian indeed.

Congress needs to make inquiries as to personal audits.

slickwillie2001 on May 11, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Low level people ask all sorts of questions, but they don’t create forms. Just check if this was a type written unique letter each time or boiler plate. If it was the later forget about “low level” anything.

Fred 2 on May 11, 2013 at 10:36 AM

guy, this is at its heart standard procedure for IRS in the EO side. organizations submit a form 1023 to ask for permission to be a tax-exempt organization. in my experience of 25 years preparing and submitting these forms to IRS and dealing with EO, this what they DO. they alsmot always comes back with specific questions written out regarding THAT organizations application. they ask a lot of prying questions. mainly they are looking for how the organization will operate. there are a ton of buzzwords of things they want to ascertain. self-dealing. related parties. after 9-11 they started asking crap-tons of questions about foreign activities. they look for any chance that officers or management would personlly gain from the organization. i’ve had small daycare centers get questions like this. obvious on its face charitable organizations get questions like this. i had a group of weather geeks setting up a non-prof to share and disseminate weather info (this was before widely available weather info on the internet like 15 years ago)get questions like this. thats how EO works. specific questions for each organization based on what they say on their 1023. and a smooth process a fast one takes about 8-9 months. if its VERY simple. they usually take about a year to 18 months. 3 years is not normal. and some of the questions they cite in these examples are extreme. but this whole overall process is what folks who deal with setting up not for proftis deal with every day. and have delat with for years.

t8stlikchkn on May 11, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Not only are they political partisan hacks, but they can’t even write proper English:

Provide copies of your website that your members can only access

What is the percentage of the organizational members as they are part of the whole membership?

What services and benefits do you provide especially for members only?

GWB on May 11, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Not only are they political partisan hacks, but they can’t even write proper English:

Provide copies of your website that your members can only access

What is the percentage of the organizational members as they are part of the whole membership?

What services and benefits do you provide especially for members only?

GWB on May 11, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Government hiring standards; -the very best gummint K-12 can provide.

slickwillie2001 on May 11, 2013 at 11:40 AM


… 3 years is not normal. and some of the questions they cite in these examples are extreme. but this whole overall process is what folks who deal with setting up not for proftis deal with every day. and have delat with for years.

Lots of IRS-defending trollscitizens out and about among the voices on the various discussion fora this very day. Odd, don’t you think?

casuist on May 11, 2013 at 12:10 PM

The full force of the federal government was applied against dire threats such as MLK, so there’s certainly precedent.

bayam on May 10, 2013 at 8:32 PM

Yup. MLK’s phone was tapped by a Democrat Attorney General. Thanks for admitting your Party is solely to blame.

A+

Del Dolemonte on May 11, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Is there such a thing as a liberal with integrity?

malclave on May 10, 2013 at 8:58 PM

Iraq

bayam on May 10, 2013 at 9:07 PM

The 2002 Iraq AUMF (signed off on by the current and former Democrat Secretaries of State) listed 12 reasons for going into Iraq. Were the 11 other reasons wrong too?

Del Dolemonte on May 11, 2013 at 12:23 PM

I realize that as a liberal you’re incapable of telling the truth, but don’t make the mistake that we’re as stupid as you are.

malclave on May 10, 2013 at 10:07 PM

You can look up his ‘mushroom cloud’ quote, which clearly implicated that Iraq would soon have a viable nuclear threat.

And if you’re capable of using a search engine with that tiny brain of yours

bayam on May 10, 2013 at 10:30 PM

I just did, and the Democrat Party Search Engine Google told me that in fact it wasn’t Bush who used that term, it was Condi Rice.

On CNN, Condi Rice acknowledged that “there will always be some uncertainty” in determining how close Iraq may be to obtaining a nuclear weapon but said, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

Del Dolemonte on May 11, 2013 at 12:30 PM

I wonder if this admission means they are going to stop targeting conservative groups, and are the conservative groups now a protected minority since US government has admitted to using it’s power to target them unfairly?

Kjeil on May 11, 2013 at 12:55 PM

The 2002 Iraq AUMF (signed off on by the current and former Democrat Secretaries of State) listed 12 reasons for going into Iraq. Were the 11 other reasons wrong too?

Del Dolemonte on May 11, 2013 at 12:23 PM

probably

nonpartisan on May 11, 2013 at 1:12 PM

@onomo: I’m sure the IRS sent the same requests to liberal organizations. But maybe some House committee should subpoena them just to be certain.

Seth Halpern on May 11, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Oh I was just being facetious in the face of facism. A little morning snarky/passive aggression. I agree but am skeptical the IRS practise is/was as even handed as you suggest. Subpoenas would help certainly clear that up but I would look for those liberal orgs to jump to their defense in anyway possible with proof they got the same deal so.
Anywho I’m seeing the suggestion now this same alledged method was applied to Jewish non profit orgs as well? If so will the IRS also offer an upcoming apology specific to them? Might head off, well help keep nazi comparisons to a progressive squall.
Still, as an exit question, how exactly do you think they, the IRS-the federal agency that will oversee our universal health care, spell persecution? – afternoon snarky

onomo on May 11, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Lots of IRS-defending trollscitizens out and about among the voices on the various discussion fora this very day. Odd, don’t you think?

How is this a defense of the IRS, paranoid wingnut? I made a similar comment earlier and it was interpreted the same way. Allow me to clarify: my point is not that this is OK, my point is that the uproar over disproportionate targeting of political groups is to me just one symptom of the larger problem: the overweaning, prying, unaccountable power of the IRS and all other government agencies in general.

With apologies to Thomas Jefferson, when we vote for the government to do more and more things, we are voting for them to do precisely what it is they are doing now.

Xasprtr on May 11, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Yup. MLK’s phone was tapped by a Democrat Attorney General. Thanks for admitting your Party is solely to blame.

A+

Del Dolemonte on May 11, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Ouch. That’s gonna leave a mark.

totherightofthem on May 11, 2013 at 1:20 PM

Obama, as chief executive, has some executive decisions to make, it seems.

LizardLips on May 11, 2013 at 1:43 PM

The tea party and liberty movements should work to eliminate the IRS. End income based taxation and replace it with a national sales tax and the IRS is no longer necessary. The IRS is inherently corrupt and will only get worse over time. It needs to end.

FloatingRock on May 11, 2013 at 1:50 PM

End income based taxation and replace it with a national sales tax and the IRS is no longer necessary. The IRS is inherently corrupt and will only get worse over time

Amen, brother.

Xasprtr on May 11, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Every single IRS employee that was part of this needs to be fired. And the heads of any regional office as well.

And then prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

thgrant on May 11, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Out: War on Women

In: War on We The People

Key West Reader on May 11, 2013 at 2:03 PM

This is a really stupid question:

Who does the IRS report to?

Key West Reader on May 11, 2013 at 2:05 PM

This is a really stupid question:

Who does the IRS report to?

Key West Reader on May 11, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Secretary of the Treasury.

totherightofthem on May 11, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Just had another reload time warp, to QOTD from May 3rd.

slickwillie2001 on May 11, 2013 at 2:09 PM

This is a really stupid question:

Who does the IRS report to?

Key West Reader on May 11, 2013 at 2:05 PM
Secretary of the Treasury.

totherightofthem on May 11, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Oh yeah… I remember him. The Tax Cheat.

Key West Reader on May 11, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Impeach the crap weasel, now.

Zorro on May 11, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Every organization has a formal and informal chain of command. I would suggest looking into the union to find the answers.

wukong on May 11, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Every single one of Mary’s points is a lie. Those questions are not out of line at all. It was the way the IRS was directed that was evil. Those questions are all understandable in a valid investigation and Mary deliberately rewords them in a deceptive way. By the way, that’s not being a conservative that’s being a subversive Anti-American liar.

Observation on May 11, 2013 at 2:47 PM

The 2002 Iraq AUMF (signed off on by the current and former Democrat Secretaries of State) listed 12 reasons for going into Iraq. Were the 11 other reasons wrong too?

Del Dolemonte on May 11, 2013 at 12:23 PM

probably

partisan on May 11, 2013 at 1:12 PM

LOL, don’t you ever tire of looking like a fool here? If you had any intellectual curiosity at all, you would have read the 2002 document.

The other 11 reasons:

1. Iraq’s noncompliance with the conditions of the 1991 ceasefire agreement, including interference with U.N. weapons inspectors.

2. Iraq’s “brutal repression of its civilian population.”

3. Iraq’s “capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people”.

4. Iraq’s hostility towards the United States as demonstrated by the 1993 assassination attempt on former President George H. W. Bush and firing on coalition aircraft enforcing the no-fly zones following the 1991 Gulf War.

(Democrat pResident Bill Clinton launched cruise missiles agaimst Baghdad after that assassination attempt)

5. Members of al-Qaeda, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq.

(And remember, it was Democrat pResident Bill Clinton, in 1998, who first claimed that Iraq was in bed with al Qaeda. Not Bush.)

6. Iraq’s “continu[ing] to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations,” including anti-United States terrorist organizations.

7. Iraq paid bounty to families of suicide bombers.

8. The efforts by the Congress and the President to fight terrorists, and those who aided or harbored them.

9. The authorization by the Constitution and the Congress for the President to fight anti-United States terrorism.

10. The governments in Turkey, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia feared Saddam and wanted him removed from power.

11. Citing the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, the resolution reiterated that it should be the policy of the United States to remove the Saddam Hussein regime and promote a democratic replacement.

(Bush wasn’t President in 1998)

12. F-

Del Dolemonte on May 11, 2013 at 3:08 PM

“We are from the government and are here to help.”

the 10 most frightening words you will ever hear.

unseen on May 11, 2013 at 3:16 PM

This is what is important in todays world … “Boxers or briefs?” … need I say more?

kregg on May 11, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Del Dolemonte on May 11, 2013 at 3:08 PM

Im aware of those reasons, and guess what…none of those 11 reasons warrant sacrificing American lives

you think I give a damn about liberating some ragheads?

nonpartisan on May 11, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Oh yeah… I remember him. The Tax Cheat.

Key West Reader on May 11, 2013 at 2:21 PM

LOL. Yep. One and the same.

totherightofthem on May 11, 2013 at 3:58 PM

Those questions are not out of line at all.

Observation on May 11, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Excuse me, but asking for the names and addresses of all members is certainly a flagrant violation of the First Amendment, and is NOT justified by any IRS activity required by law.

Rep. Darrell Issa and Rep. Jim Jordan seem to agree with me on this, although they spelled it out differently.

This activity should get those involved FIRED…regardless of the target group involved. The fact that only Obama’s political opponents were targeted only compounds the felony.

landlines on May 11, 2013 at 5:50 PM

IRS questionnaire to Occupy Wall Street:

1. What percentage of your members voted for Barack Obama?

2. If more than 50% – Application Approved!

Russ in OR on May 11, 2013 at 7:03 PM


How is this a defense of the IRS, paranoid wingnut? etc., etc.

And note how the trollsIRS-partisans get weirdly prolix when you simply make note of their frenetic apologia on behalf of their favourite government agency.

casuist on May 11, 2013 at 7:18 PM

I think the most pertinent question, one which I don’t know the answer to and that will help point the way to how serious this is would be:

How similar is this to what any major political organization seeking tax exempt status is asked?

It would seem the argument for overreach here would be MUCH bolstered by including examples of “This is what the Tea Party was put through as opposed to, THIS which is what blah blah, so and so, and the foundation for pediatric kanine aids were put through.

Otherwise, one COULD be making an argument with the purpose of making it APPEAR the way they want.

They should have gone through the exact same processes that should be objectively applied to ALL comer’s, regardless. But as per usual, either way, I’m not outragishly outraged. Haha. Welcome to America folks!

It’s either murderously bureaucratic(ahem, big government?), maliciously corrupt on both sides, or a bit of both. But it AIN’T new either way, and even if malicious, conservatives have found themselves of the other side of this type of weapon plenty fair share themselves before as well.

It’s a beautifully and ingeniously constructed game.

Stop participating in it and start demanding a change of sport instead.

Genuine on May 11, 2013 at 8:47 PM

you think I give a damn about liberating some ragheads?

nonpartisan on May 11, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Moderators, are you aware of the bigot in our midst?

CurtZHP on May 11, 2013 at 11:45 PM

The good news is these guys are going to be in charge of collecting ObamaCare taxes, excuse me, penalties.

Stepan on May 12, 2013 at 6:54 AM

you think I give a damn about liberating some ragheads?

nonpartisan on May 11, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Moderators, are you aware of the bigot in our midst?

CurtZHP on May 11, 2013 at 11:45 PM

If you think you’re going to get rid of libpartisan with a slur against Arab head-choppers, I got news for ya: you aren’t. This IS a site where the majority of us would dance in the streets if Mecca sprouted a mushroom cloud, you do realize.

MelonCollie on May 12, 2013 at 9:27 AM

IRS defenders here are a hoot. “This is all just standard procedure!”

So is apologizing for it also standard procedure?

creeper on May 12, 2013 at 10:06 AM

It’s well past time to shut down the IRS, or defund them entirely. To big, and to powerful, and really totally unnecessary. FAIR TAX is fair for all.

F_This on May 12, 2013 at 6:02 PM

This is definitely a “litmus test” for the libs. Obviously most don’t pay taxes or pay them late. Either on welfare of someone like buffet or immmelt that dodge paying taxes. They could care less of the IRS runs amok since all they get are tax “refunds”.

acyl72 on May 13, 2013 at 7:31 AM

The IRS is inherently corrupt and will only gethas only gotten worse over time. It needs to end.

FloatingRock on May 11, 2013 at 1:50 PM

There. I know that’s what you meant to say. ;)

Sterling Holobyte on May 13, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Genuine on May 11, 2013 at 8:47 PM

They got caught doing this back in 2010. And in 2011. And in 2012.

They’ve had all this time to come up with one single example where they targeted a leftist organization the same way. If any leftist organization had been so targeted, we’d hear them screaming it from the rooftops right this minute, and it would be the lead on every leftist news show there is (i.e. most of them).

And yet, not one example has come forward or been presented. Why do you think that is? Could it be that they refused to ask such questions of leftists? Naw, just conservative conspiracy nuts. Got it.

Moron.

runawayyyy on May 13, 2013 at 1:54 PM

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