(Richmond, VA) – “The IRS Exempt Organizations unit has violated the sacred constitutional rights of some 75 Tea Party and Patriot groups that had applied for tax-exempt status between 2009 and 2012,” said Mark Daugherty, Chairman, Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation. “The Tea Party rejects the apology by Lois Lerner, Director, Exempt Organizations, for her department’s confirmed discrimination and illegal treatment against groups that have the words ‘Tea Party’ or ‘Patriots’ in their name,” declared Mr. Daugherty.
The Constitutional violations include.
- 1. First Amendment: The rights of free speech. Viewpoint discrimination.
- 2. Fourth Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.
- 3. Fourteenth Amendment: Equal protection of the law.
Mark Daugherty said, “This egregious behavior requires a full top-to-bottom investigation by the Inspector General of the operations and practices of the IRS Exempt Organizations unit. “Furthermore, The IRS agents, supervisors, and senior executives should be held accountable for their illegal actions.”
The Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation notes the abusive and overtly political behavior by the IRS during the Clinton administration when critics of President Clinton were subjected to tax audits.* “This cycle of IRS abuse and illegal behavior must be stopped,” said Mark Daugherty.
The Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation thanks the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) for advocating on behalf of 27 tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status, including tea party groups in Virginia.
“Several Tea Party groups in northern Virginia were discouraged from seeking tax-exempt status due to the chilling effects of the enhanced investigations by the IRS,” said Mark Daugherty. “In addition, the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party Patriots spent 26 months working through the tortuous tax-exempt process, and spent 235 hours to compile a 10-pound report measuring seven inches thick, to comply with a second-round of IRS information requests.”
Ron Wilcox, lead organizer of the Northern Va Tea Party, said, “We were discouraged from applying for tax exempt status because we knew the IRS was targeting the tea party groups for ‘special examination’ and ‘enforcement’.”
“The tea party groups targeted should also be reimbursed for the extra time and expense forced upon them in attempting to comply with these illegal, threatening mandates handed down against them by the IRS,” states Mr. Daugherty.
The Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation is a coalition of 46 independent Tea Party and patriot groups that stand for fiscal responsibility, constitutionally-limited government, and free market principles.