Prompted by the admission by the Internal Revenue Service that tea-party groups and other conservative organizations seeking non-profit, tax-exempt status were targets of discrimination, the tea-party movement is mobilizing like-minded citizens to hold demonstrations in front of IRS buildings across the nation at noon, local time, Tuesday.
“I’ll bet this is gonna be huge,” said talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh on his show Monday. “It’s entirely possible that people are going to see once again just how big and how deep the tea party is.”
Limbaugh’s promotion of the protest drew such a strong response that the Tea Party Patriots website was overwhelmed and inaccessible for a period of time.
A call to protest by Tea Party Patriots urges: “The Internal Revenue Service is out of control and we need to stand up and let them know that we will not take their intimidation tactics!”
In the “talking points” of its protest tool kit, Tea Party Patriots charges the IRS has been dishonest and unwilling to exercise accountability.
The Inspector General’s report, the group notes, found that the IRS began targeting organizations with the word “patriot” or “tea party” in their names in February 2010.
The issue was confronted in a 2011 hearing by the House Ways & Means Committee, but the IRS commissioner insisted no targeting was taking place, even though he had been briefed about the agency’s practice of denying or delaying the applications of conservative groups.
Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller testified before the same committee May 17 and denied there was any political agenda or any significant wrong-doing.
But Tea Party Patriots says that as a result of the IRS’ illegal activities, many of Tea Party Patriots’ local branches were unable to raise funds, and the national group lost membership and donors.
The IRS policy has had a “chilling effect,” Tea Party Patriots says. Dozens of its state coordinators have said that they were too afraid to submit their applications after they learned about what other groups were experiencing.
The group says it understands, through experience, the old adage that the “power to tax is the power to destroy.”
“The Internal Revenue Services is, perhaps, one of the most feared government agencies because of its immense power to audit and repossess people’s assets,” the group says. “The American public has the right to expect their tax laws to be enforced in a transparent and equal way, irrespective of the individual’s personal convictions or group memberships and associations.”
Meanwhile, Politico reports the White House has changed its explanation of the IRS scandal day by day.
On Monday, it once again added to the list of people who knew about the IRS investigation, saying White House chief of staff Denis McDonough had been informed about a month ago.
But White House spokesman Jay Carney insisted White House senior aides did not inform the president.
ABC News reports reporters covering the scandal are being stonewalled and escorted by police in public IRS buildings.
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, in an interview with the Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren Friday night, accused President Obama of having “built up an atmosphere of guerrilla warfare” that created fertile ground for the scandals now roiling his administration.
“This is the problem with this entire situation [with the AP], with the IRS, with Benghazi: you have all these situations — all these unprecedented scandals — yet the president knows nothing about it,” Priebus said.