WASHINGTON, D.C., June 3, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As lawmakers investigate the IRS harassment of Tea Party, conservative, evangelical, Catholic, and other political organizations, a leading pro-life lawyer told Fox News that he “can't help but think” someone ordered the intense scrutiny his clients have experienced.
Peter Breen, executive director of the Thomas More Society, appeared on Megyn Kelly's program last week to detail how the tax agency began subjecting pro-life groups to an unconstitutional and illegal level of scrutiny during the Obama administration.
“We can't help but think it's related” to the 44th president's ascension to power, Breen said. “All of this happened after President Obama took office.”
“We weren't having these troubles under the prior administrations,” he said. “Someone did something.”
The IRS asked one of the Society's clients, the Coalition of Life for Iowa, “Please detail the content of the members of your organization's prayers.” Agents asked pro-life groups about their activities protesting outside Planned Parenthood clinics, including the messages on signs they might hold.
“If your concern is keeping 501(c)3 charities from doing political work, well then why do you care about what they're doing at their prayer meetings or what they're doing outside a Planned Parenthood?” Breen asked. “They're not canvassing voters there.”
“It's obvious what they're doing there,” he said, calling their work “perfectly appropriate for 501(c)3 public charities.”
Another tax agent asked a client if a pro-life ministry would “educate on both sides” of the abortion debate, outlining the argument in favor of abortion alongside their own deeply held beliefs that life begins at the moment of conception.
“Would you ask the NAACP if they're going to see what the white supremacists do and they're going to present both sides of the issue?” he asked, provoking a quick, on-air laugh from Kelly. “This is crazy.”
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Congressman Aaron Schock, R-IL, grilled the departing IRS commissioner, Steven Miller, over the allegations, which the society made public after it delivered 150 pages of evidence that the IRS harassed pro-life groups.
Breen, Thomas More Society President Thomas Brejcha, and Special Counsel Sally Wagenmaker prepared the 150-page legal memorandum, which can be read here.
Congress is investigating how the nationwide pressure, which the administration originally blamed on “rogue agents” in the Cincinnati office, began.
On its website the Thomas More Society notes that it “has assisted thousands of clients including some of the nation’s most renowned pro-life and religious leaders: David Bereit and 40 Days for Life, Lila Rose and Live Action, Joe, Ann and Eric Scheidler and Pro-Life Action League, Troy Newman and Operation Rescue, Fmr. Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, Catholic Bishops, the Notre Dame Protestors (“ND88”) and many more.”