Saturday, June 01, 2013
A group of anti-abortion activists in Iowa had to promise the Internal Revenue Service it wouldn’t picket in front of Planned Parenthood.Catherine Engelbrecht’s family and business in Texas were audited by the government after her voting- rights group sought tax-exempt status from the IRS.Retired veteran Mark Drabik of Nebraska became active in and donated to conservative causes, then found the IRS challenging his church donations.While the developing scandal over the targeting of conservatives by the tax agency has largely focused to date on its scrutiny of groups with words such as “tea party” or “patriot” in their names, these examples suggest the government was looking at a broader array of conservative groups and perhaps individuals. Their collective experiences at a minimum could spread skepticism about the fairness of a agency that should be above reproach and at worst could point to a secret political vendetta within the government against conservatives.The emerging stories from real people raise questions about whether the IRS scrutiny extended beyond applicants for tax-exempt status and whether individuals who donated to these tax-exempt organizations or to conservative causes also were targeted.Former IRS leaders have apologized for inappropriate scrutiny of conservative organizations. They haven’t to date, however, divulged who developed the criteria, how they were developed or when and how they extended to groups associated with conservative causes that didn’t have “tea party,” “patriot” or similar catchwords in their names.Widening congressional investigations and federal lawsuits are likely to reveal more about the scope and intent of the inappropriate of conservative groups by the IRS. The House Ways and Means Committee a hearing Tuesday to allow victims to testify for the first time. In earlier hearings, one IRS official pleaded the Fifth to avoid answering questions.The Treasury Department inspector general who’s probing IRS activities, J. Russell George, recently acknowledged that he’s looking into other watch lists created by IRS employees. He said he was barred by law from disclosing anything more.Sue Martinek of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, already knows what happened to her and others involved in the Coalition for Life of Iowa.She first sought tax-exempt status for the group in 2008, maintaining contact by mail and with a woman identified only as Ms. Richards in the Cincinnati office of the IRS that’s now at the center of the scandal.Martinek said the woman never offered a first name. A woman’s voice on a recording at her phone number doesn’t give a name, and messages left by McClatchy brought no response.Richards told Martinek by phone in early 2009 that the group’s application had been approved, Martinek said. But Richards added a , according to Martinek. members first needed to sign a letter promising not to picket in front of Planned Parenthood offices, Martinek said.“We were pretty surprised. But we had never gone through the process before,” Martinek said. “I was sort of, ‘If we have to, we have to, but this doesn’t seem a good thing to do.’ ”A board member suggested contacting the Thomas More Society, a public-interest group that provides free legal help on conservative hot-button issues. It saw the IRS request to the Iowa group as forcing the group to abandon its First Amendment rights.“We’re certainly not about protesting and picketing. That happens to be a small part of what we do. When we do go to Planned Parenthood, we’re going there to pray,” said Martinek, who said her group focused on educational forums and wasn’t a conduit for funneling money to political campaigns.Ironically, Planned Parenthood does enjoy the type of tax-exempt status that Martinek’s group originally sought....The experience of retired Army Lt. Col. Mark Drabik suggests a possible new dimension to the IRS story.After retiring in 2009 from a distinguishedmilitary , he took a civilian job at the Strategic Command in Omaha, Neb. For the first time in his adult life, he could express political beliefs openly. He frequently wrote to elected officials and participated in conservative marches in Washington, attending national tea party events and donating to conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck’s 912 movement.Then came an audit letter from the IRS.The agency questioned him about church donations, deductions for family respite care – which provides caregivers with a brief rest – and his daughter’s equine therapy, he said. A doctor prescribed the last two as necessary because of the stress of caring for Drabik’s 19-year-old autistic son. The deductions had been claimed for almost a decade without IRS complaint.Amid the IRS scandal, Drabik now wonders whether his support of conservative causes is to blame.“I did contribute to them. I did participate in the marches. That’s what worries me,” said Drabik, 49, who’s fighting the IRS over a sum in the ballpark of $20,000. After losing an IRS appeal, he was entitled to a second appeal, which to his great surprise went to the same person who handled his first.The agency is prohibited from commenting on the cases of individuals.For Drabik, a of doubt has been planted.“I have to feel that that was a potential trigger” for the audit, he said, noting that the sum of his church donations and therapy deductions was pretty constant over almost a decade. “I am just a common citizen, who honorably served his nation for 23 years, who has not had this experience before and now honestly questions the actions and motivation of the IRS and how far they have gone in their actions.”
What will it take to wake up to what is happening to this ?
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Lastest news claims 88 IRS employees now involved in the scandal. Far more then the few Ohio employees that were claimed to have been the ones targeting conservatives. This thing is going to go right to the White House. Can you say Obama is the one behind this or at least was well informed by his higher ups in the IRS. He cannot continue to hide behind a wall of lies.