Good story in today's New York Times:
... Representatives of [various] organizations have cried foul in recent weeks about their treatment by the I.R.S., saying they were among dozens of conservative groups unfairly targeted by the agency, harassed with inappropriate questionnaires and put off for months or years as the agency delayed decisions on their applications.The story offers a number of examples:
But a close examination of these groups and others reveals an array of election activities that tax experts and former I.R.S. officials said would provide a legitimate basis for flagging them for closer review.
When CVFC, a conservative veterans' group in California, applied for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service, its biggest expenditure that year was several thousand dollars in radio ads backing a Republican candidate for Congress.This stuff is in plain sight. Here are a couple of photos at the Ohio Liberty Coalition's site, linked to a September 2012 blog post titled "Ohio Tea Party Group Counters Obama Visit" (click to enlarge):
The Wetumpka Tea Party, from Alabama, sponsored training for a get-out-the-vote initiative dedicated to the "defeat of President Barack Obama" while the I.R.S. was weighing its application.
And the head of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, whose application languished with the I.R.S. for more than two years, sent out e-mails to members about Mitt Romney campaign events and organized members to distribute Mr. Romney's presidential campaign literature.
And here, at the Wetumpka Tea Party site, there's a video of chapter president Becky Gerritson talking about just having attended a FreedomWorks "boot camp":
Here's part of the description of that boot camp, from FreedomWorks (emphasis added):
FreedomWorks will be hosting some of the top grassroots activists from across the country for a comprehensive training boot camp from June 24-27th in the FreedomWorks Headquarters. These activists will be leading the charge on numerous state and national battles in the months leading into the 2012 elections.
Saturday will be a policy training day, with breakout sessions on the debt ceiling debate, entitlement reform, the budget, and social media training. Sunday will be tactical training, with sessions such as Campaigning 101, FreedomConnector, town hall strategy, and our 2012 campaign and PAC targets....
"We think about the Tea party movement in phases," commented Matt Kibbe, President of FreedomWorks. "First it was a protest movement, and then it morphed into a get-out-the-vote-machine, and now we see a legislative cycle where tea party activists are getting engaged in specific agenda battles at both the federal and state level. We are here this weekend to unite these fiscally conservative community leaders, and give them the tools to create their own ground game that will win elections and transform conservative ideas into lasting political change."
Monday morning's press conference will be an excellent opportunity for members of the media to meet the local activists who will be leading limited-government initiatives in key battleground states. FreedomWorks will also announce exclusive details on new campaigns that will begin in the fall.
In the video, at about 6:53,Gerritson tells us this:
While we were there in Washington, we were able to do some actual on-the-ground grassroots protesting. We went along to support the Utah contingency that was there. They have a primary coming up there very soon against Orrin Hatch, and there are some other members in the race, but the Republican National Senatorial Committee is actully getting involved in the primary, and they're picking the winner, which they are supporting Orrin Hatch because he's the incumbent. He has a horrible voting record in regards to conservatype type of values, and the Utah folks were upset that the RNSC is picking the winner. They think the people should be picking who's going to be the next Senate.I don't really care if they're defying the party establishment (with the help of deep -pocketed FreedomWorks) -- they're getting involved in campaigns, then whining that they're doing "social welfare." I'm sure they think it's OK because they're getting involved in campaigns based on abstract principles of social good, but still -- it's political campaigning. They need to stop lying to themselves that uttering "constitutional" or "conservative principles" in every other sentence puts what they're doing to get people elected on an exalted plane. It's still electoral politics.