Garth Kant is WND Washington news editor. Previously, he spent five years writing, copy-editing and producing at "CNN Headline News," three years writing, copy-editing and training writers at MSNBC, and also served several local TV newsrooms as producer, executive producer and assistant news director. He is the author of the McGraw-Hill textbook, "How to Write Television News."More ↓Less ↑
From “No taxation without representation” at the Boston Tea Party in 1773 to “No taxation without an investigation” of the IRS at Washington, D.C., in 2013.
Patriots arriving from around the nation will be able to attend two tea parties at the Capitol on Wednesday.
The “Audit the IRS Rally” organized by the Tea Party Patriots, running from noon to 3 p.m., will demand a full investigation of the agency’s harassing of conservative groups.
The Tea Party Patriots’ co-founder and national coordinator, Jenny Beth Martin, told WND: “We want to make sure the IRS and the employees of the IRS understand that we expect them to be public servants, which is their job, and not to infringe on our constitutional rights or to use the IRS as a political weapon against citizens. So, we are standing up now to make sure this never happens again.”
The big draw at the IRS rally will be speaker Glenn Beck, along with several prominent lawmakers such as Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky; and Mike Lee, Utah; and Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.; Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; Jim Jordan, R-Ohio; and Steve King, R-Iowa.
A second rally from 9 a.m. to noon, and picking up again from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., will call for scrutiny of any immigration bill with an amnesty provision.
King is organizing that event, which he calls an “immigration press conference” and should feature some of the speakers from the noon event.
“Border security, Rule of Law Members of Congress are unlikely to get a full debate inside the halls of Congress,” said King, “So we are taking the debate outside it’s halls.”
Scheduled to speak at the “Audit the IRS Rally” are several members of tea party groups targeted by the agency.
One of those members, Becky Gerritson, told WND Monday night, “I am hoping we will have a large crowd from across the country. I know they are busing people in from some states. I’m just hoping the American people continue to wake up and to see how these government agencies are out of control and how they are used against U.S. citizens.”
Gerritson, preseident and founder of the Wetumpka Tea Party in Alabama, shot to youtube and talk-radio fame when she testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on June 4, and delivered a scathing indictment of the IRS:
“We aren’t here as serfs or vassals. We’re not begging our lords for mercy. We are born free American citizens and we’re telling our government that you’ve forgotten your place. It’s not your responsibility to look out for our well being and monitor our speech. It’s not your right to assert an agenda. The post that you occupy exists to preserve American liberty. You’ve sworn to perform that duty and you have faltered.”
Sue Martinek of the Coalition for Life of Iowa also made headlines when she testified before the committee, “[The agent] told me verbally that we needed to send in a letter with the entire board’s signatures, stating that under perjury of law we would not picket, protest, or organize outside of Planned Parenthood.”
Martinek told WND, “I am planning on coming and speaking briefly. My hope is after all these stories of people who have been subjected to the IRS overstepping their boundaries some reform will be enacted to make sure the IRS will not be doing that to any groups, conservative or otherwise. The IRS needs to be accountable and they need to stop it.”
But the IRS has not stopped the harassment and the delays in approving tax-exempt status, according to another woman who testified before the committee.
Dianne Belsom of the Laurens County Tea Party in South Carolina told WND, “Our groups is still waiting. We still haven’t had any response at all from the IRS and we are coming up on three years.”
“You still haven’t been approved?” asked WND.
“Right. There’s been dead silence from them ever since this whole thing broke, about a month ago.”
“Have your lawyers tried to contact the IRS?”
“They have filed a lawsuit against the IRS, so I don’t know what the IRS is thinking is but they certainly have not gone ahead and approved us,” said Belsom.
WND’s Jerome Corsi broke the story on May 24, that the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Belsom’s tea party group, would sue the IRS because of continued harassment.
The head of the ACLJ, Jay Sekulow, told WND, “intrusive and unlawful questioning continued after May 2012 with 18 of our clients receiving 26 questionnaires from the IRS from May 2012 through May 2013.”
Now Gerritson is wondering whether there is an investigation of the IRS at all.
She told WND, “None of the tea parties we are associated with, who were targeted, have been contacted by the FBI. It appears there is not an FBI investigation. I hope there is one but from what we’re hearing from other groups, no one has been contacted. Jay Sekulow is our lead counsel, he represents 25 different tea party groups, and he confirmed a few days ago none of them have been contacted by the FBI.”
As WND reported four days ago, if there is an investigation of IRS abuse by the FBI, the head of the bureau doesn’t seem to know too much about it.
During a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, grilled FBI Director Robert Muller on progress made in the bureau’s criminal invesitgation of the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
The congressman became increasingly frustrated as Mueller answered a series of questions by saying he had little information on the investigation.
When Jordan asked Mueller who the lead investigator was, the director said he did not know.
Jordan seemed incredulous.
“You do not know who is the lead investigator on the most important issue before the nation?”
“No, I do not.”
Jordan pressed on, asking if the FBI paid visits to any of the tea party members improperly scrutinized by the IRS.
“I don’t know,” replied Mueller.
Some of them specifically said they were visited by FBI said Jordan, citing a Catherine Engelbrecht in Texas.
“I don’t know,” said Mueller, once again.
“You don’t know,” echoed Jordan.
“You’re asking me details about the investigtion…” Mueller began to explain.
But Jordan cut him off, saying, “No I’m not, I m asking why the FBI visited these people, that happened before the investigation started.”
“You are asking about the investgtion,” the director tried to reiterate.
But Jordan shot back, “No, I am not, I am asking basic questions such as who the lead investigator is, and you can’t even answer that.”