Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Three hundred protest at IRS today

I joined about three hundred other protesters today on the sidewalk in front of the Federal Court House to protest the IRS's targeting of conservative groups.  Earlier this month, the IRS admitted that the IRS had targeted groups that had the words “tea party” or “patriots” in their names for additional scrutiny.  Such additional scrutiny included asking questions such as the names of members and contributors and asking groups to explain any association with other named individuals, and asked groups to explain their activities, and online presence. There was not an equal scrutiny of liberal groups. Some groups had a delay of as much as two years before having their tax except status approved and some never did get an approval, but never did get a denial. This caused some groups to miss fundraising and grant opportunities.

This campaign of intimidation and delay in approving tax except status for conservative groups has been blamed on low-level staffers by IRS officials, although that claim is being challenged.  Few believe that low-level staffers undertook this campaign without any direction. Many believe this campaign of intimidation may be a scandal on a scale equal to the Nixon "enemies list" and may reach all of the way to the White House.

Today's events was emceed by Ken Marrero, a blogger at Blue Collar Muse and well know activist. Speakers included radio talk show host Steve Gill, Phil Valentine, and Ralph Bristol. Other speakers were Bobbie Patray of Tennessee Eagle Forum and anti-tax activist Ben Cunningham of Nashville Tea Party. Speakers called for an in-depth investigation to get to the bottom (or top) of the scandal.

Given that the protest only had a couple days of planning and advance notice, that it was in the middle of the day, that it was downtown where weekday parking is expensive and hard to find, and that there was a threat of sever thunder storms, I was impressed that so many people turned out on short notice. The bad weather held off until the conclusion of the protest and then there was a downpour.

Check back for updates.

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