I can’t believe that this story is in the New York Times. It involves the right-leaning group Friends of Abe. It applied for tax-exempt status with the IRS two years ago and the IRS has not granted that status. Now, it’s poking around and trying to get the group’s membership list.
The membership list is serious business. The IRS could use it for a number of nefarious ends, including harassing its members individually or leak it to liberal groups who will harass them, boycott their products, even get them blacklisted.
Such a leak already happened, to the National Organization for Marriage.
That’s what today’s liberals do. They attempt to shut down speech with which they do not agree, while constantly moving the standards so that anyone can run afoul of their rage at any time. The fear is warranted.
Those people said that the application had been under review for roughly two years, and had at one point included a demand — which was not met — for enhanced access to the group’s security-protected website, which would have revealed member names. Tax experts said that an organization’s membership list is information that would not typically be required. The I.R.S. already had access to the site’s basic levels, a request it considers routine for applications for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
Friends of Abe — the name refers to Abraham Lincoln — has strongly discouraged the naming of its members. That policy even prohibits the use of cameras at group events, to avoid the unwilling identification of all but a few associates — the actors Gary Sinise, Jon Voight and Kelsey Grammer, or the writer-producer Lionel Chetwynd, for instance — who have spoken openly about their conservative political views.
The I.R.S. request comes in the face of a continuing congressional investigation into the agency’s reviews of political nonprofits, most of them conservative-leaning, which provoked outrage on the right and forced the departure last year of several high-ranking I.R.S. officials. But unlike most of those groups, which had sought I.R.S. approval for a mix of election campaigning and nonpartisan issue advocacy, Friends of Abe is seeking a far more restrictive tax status, known as 501(c)(3), that would let donors claim a tax deduction, but strictly prohibits any form of partisan activity.
Read the rest. President Obama claimed that the IRS abuse of Tea Party groups “outraged” him, yet the same behavior continues.