In case you missed it last week, I have some great news about a huge, recent SATP victory. Most of you are aware that the SATP has been involved in a 3-year suit against the IRS for targeting conservatives.
When all this started years ago, there were some that said we shouldn’t take on the IRS. It was too big and scary. There were some that said we shouldn’t engage in the lawsuit against the IRS because it would consume too much of our time and take too much paperwork. But the offenses were so egregious and the first amendment violations were so evident that we moved forward on the suit anyway.
To refresh our memories, let me take you back to that time when the targeting happened so you can recall how intrusive the IRS became:
- The IRS put groups on a BOLO (“Be on the lookout”) list if they had names that included Tea Party, patriot, liberty, freedom, Constitution, or Israel.
- They demanded lists of our donors and amounts donated.
- They demanded information on how we used those donations.
- They wanted copies of our prayers and speeches.
- They demanded we share whether or not any of our officers or donors had run or planned to run for public office.
- They requested a list of all issues important to the SATP and demanded we give our position on those issues.
- They even wanted to know the roles and activities of the audience and the type of conversations and discussions members and other participants had during any SATP activity.
- They demanded to know the political affiliation of SATP members, speakers, and candidates we supported.
- They demanded information regarding our employment, including hours worked.
- They even wanted to know activities of other organizations with which the SATP had any relationship.
Two weeks ago the SATP along with other tea parties across the country prevailed against the IRS on one of our claims on a constitutional basis. The Federal Appeals Court for the D.C circuit ruled that the IRS did, in fact, discriminate against tea party groups based on our viewpoint. And the court overturned the lower court decision and remanded our case back to the lower court and said the IRS must prove that it has permanently stopped the unconstitutional targeting of groups because of their political leanings.
This decision means that our case against the IRS for the deliberate and illegal targeting of groups for their political beliefs can move forward and we will have our day in court after all.
Allen Tharp is President of the San Antonio Tea Party.
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