Conservative groups targeted by the the Internal Revenue Service were ordered to provide copies of their websites, social media postings, donor lists and much more in the still-emerging IRS scandal.
Politico reviewed documents from 11 such organizations and found they were asked deeply probing inquiries, including for one group, the “minutes of all board meetings since your creation.”
“They were asking for a U-Haul truck’s worth of information,” Toby Marie Walker, president of the Waco Tea Party, told Politico. Her group was asked for copies of all its newsletters, any stories written about them, and transcripts of radio shows where they mentioned any political candidates by name.
The American Patriots Against Government Excess was asked for summaries of all material passed out during meetings. They had been reading the U.S. Constitution; the group’s president mailed in a copy.
The inquiries were all in the name of the organizations’ applications for tax-exempt status, yet the process for many stretched out for more than a year and a half.
Other groups were asked whether they had any tie to the Koch brothers-backed anti-tax organization Americans for Prosperity. The Liberty Township Tea Party was asked whether they knew a former leader of the Cincinnati Tea Party. That former leader, Justin Binik-Thomas, said he never worked with the Liberty group and has no idea why there were lumped together — though is worried now about being on the IRS’s radar.
“Will my personal taxes get audited? Will my small-business taxes get audited? Am I a pawn to try to get at another group?” Binik-Thomas said to Politico. “There are a lot of people involved in the Tea Party. Why was I isolated from thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people? Why was I singled out?”
One conservative group, Linchpins of Liberty in Franklin, Tenn., gives talks to students. Founder and president Kevin Kookogey said the IRS wanted the names of everyone his group trained.
“Can you imagine my responsibility to parents if I disclosed the names of their children to the IRS?” Kookogey told the Daily Mail. He said the very thought “should send chills through your spine that the government would ask me to identify those I teach, and to provide details of what I teach them.”