Having spent most of my legal career working with tax exempt entities, the IRS scrutiny on the Tea Party isn’t news to me. In my days at large law firms, I handled a portfolio of nonprofit Tea Party organizations and saw firsthand how the IRS treated them when it came to granting exemptions.
In many cases, the organizations fight tooth-and-nail to get through IRS scrutiny, often facing pages of questions from the IRS on their activities.
In some instances, the IRS went about it in a more roundabout way, calling into question the organization’s use of funds, its outside grants and operational issues.
Several of the applications were even sent up to the IRS’ National Office for elevated scrutiny.
The experiences mirror the allegations of the American Center for Law and Justice, who represented 27 organizations.
On the flip side, I’ve worked with numerous Muslim organizations as well. And every single application of a Muslim nonprofit has gone through the IRS, with less scrutiny. Of course, they still did get scrutiny– after all, Islamophobia is still pretty rampant everywhere and it’s inaccurate to say that they got a free pass. But truth be told, they never got a 10-page questionnaire on each and every one of their grantees.
What does this say about the way that the IRS is handling applications from Muslim nonprofits? For one, in the application phase, Muslim nonprofits seem to have an upper hand over Tea Party groups.
I’m sure no one in the IRS asked those Muslim groups to divulge the content of their members’ prayers.