|Posted on May 14, 2013 at 5:35 PM|
Image courtesy of upi.com.
The IRS not only demanded personal information of donors to conservative groups in their persecution of political dissent, they also illegally distributed the information to left-wing groups. Liberal media advocacy group Pro-Publica is reporting that in November they received tax information from the IRS on thirty-one right-wing groups. From Pro-Publica:
On Nov. 15, 2012, ProPublica requested the applications of 67 nonprofits, all of which had spent money on the 2012 elections. (Because no social welfare groups with Tea Party in their names spent money on the election, ProPublica did not at that point request their applications. We had requested the Tea Party applications earlier, after the groups first complained about being singled out by the IRS. In response, the IRS said it could find no record of the tax-exempt status of those groups — typically how it responds to requests for unapproved applications.)
Just 13 days after ProPublica sent in its request, the IRS responded with the documents on 31 social welfare groups.
One of the applications the IRS released to ProPublica was from Crossroads GPS, the largest social-welfare nonprofit involved in the 2012 election. The group, started in part by GOP consultant Karl Rove, promised the IRS that any effort to influence elections would be “limited.” The group spent more than $70 million from anonymous donors in 2012.
Applications were sent to ProPublica from five other social welfare groups that had told the IRS that they wouldn’t spend money to sway elections. The other groups ended up spending more than $5 million related to the election, mainly to support Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Much of that money was spent by the Arizona group Americans for Responsible Leadership. The remaining four groups that told the IRS they wouldn’t engage in political spending were Freedom Path, Rightchange.com II, America Is Not Stupid and A Better America Now.
The IRS also sent ProPublica the applications of three small conservative groups that told the agency that they would spend some money on politics: Citizen Awareness Project, the YG Network and SecureAmericaNow.org. (No unapproved applications from liberal groups were sent to ProPublica.)
The IRS then realized that the documents they sent should not have been distributed. “It has come to our attention that you are in receipt of application materials of organizations that have not been recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt,” said IRS spokeswoman Michelle Eldridge in an email to the organization. Eldridge then went on to cite a law that publishing unauthorized returns could result in a $5,000 and five years in prison. ProPublica published the information in reports anyways.
It is truly outrageous that the IRS not only illegally tries to intimidate these conservative groups, but then gives away the financial information for the public to see. If it is not tyranny that the American people cannot expect basic privacy from their own government, especially when the government is targeting them merely over political dissent in the first place, what is?
Barker, Kim and Justin Elliot. “IRS Office That Targeted Tea Party Also Disclosed Confidential Docs From Conservative Groups.” ProPublica.org. ProPublica, Inc.: 14 May 2013. Web. 14 May 2013. <http://www.propublica.org/article/irs-office-that-targeted-tea-party-also-disclosed-confidential-docs>