WASHINGTON, D.C., May 21, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – More than 20 Tea Party groups who were targeted by the IRS gathered on Capitol Hill today and organized rallies front of IRS offices across the country to protest the agency’s violations of their rights.
Last week, amid the Benghazi and press scandals, an IRS inspector general audit became public revealing that the agency's employees targeted “tea party” affiliates, conservative organizations, religious groups, and pro-life chapters for additional scrutiny or harassment.
More than a dozen members of Congress joined the assembled protesters for a press conference on Capitol Hill today.
“The IRS’ veneer of impartiality is shattered and the IRS must be audited,” said Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder and CEO of Tea Party Patriots, the nation’s largest Tea Party organization, said.
“We join all those across the country who have felt abused or threatened by the IRS,” said Martin. “Tea Party Patriots has not backed down and will continue to fight.”
She voiced the desire of many of those protesting to bring the federal tax organization, which will soon administer ObamaCare, under control.
“Tea Party Patriots insists on an independent, transparent, outside, and thorough investigation, because the IRS cannot be trusted to self-police and the Justice Department is also suffering from extreme lack of credibility at this moment,” she said.
The legal group Thomas More Society provided more than 150 pages of evidence to the House Ways and Means Committee last week detailing repeated incidences of IRS peppering pro-life organizations with inappropriate questions, including the content of one group's prayers.
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Beyond intimidation and harassment, the pro-life group Cherish Life Ministries reports being denied tax-exempt status after IRS employees deemed it a “political organization” because of its position on abortion.
The IRS caseworker said that to be considered an “educational” – and therefore tax-exempt – organization, the group would have to present both sides of the abortion argument.
Martin says she and others in the liberty movement are unbowed by the threats of unnecessary audits and federal snooping but will fight to assure all groups that were discriminated against are vindicated.
“If you want start a Tea Party, join us and we will help you and fight with you,” she said. “We started our organization to fight an out of control government who is addicted to power.”
“We will not allow the IRS or any branch or agency of the government to take away our First Amendment rights, or any of our Constitutional rights,” she said.