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Former Bush White House Counsel Files IRS Complaint Against Media Matters

C. Boyden Gray looks on during a press conference in Rome.

C. Boyden Gray, former White House counsel to President George H.W. Bush, was on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" Tuesday evening to talk about his civilian complaint with the IRS, which seeks to have Media Matters' tax exempt status yanked.

Gray filed his complaint back in August 2011, when Lois Lerner ran the IRS's section on tax-exempt organizations -- and he's still waiting for redress. Gray told PJ Media on Wednesday that he hoped Media Matters' recent attacks on the Fox News host would "re-energize the issue."

"The more attention it gets, the better," he said.

The 76-year-old told Carlson, "I think it may be time for someone to speak up at the White House," arguing that there are now "better-thinking people" in charge at the IRS who could be persuaded to stop forcing Americans to "subsidize speech they don't agree with."

In his 2011 petition, Gray cited MMFA's pattern of “unlawful conduct,” saying that the nonprofit has “executed a partisan strategy” in violation of U.S. tax law as it exists “no longer to educate the public but, rather, to declare ‘war on Fox.’”

Gray argued that MMFA's reported goal to “disrupt” the commercial interests of News Corp --  the parent of Fox News and Fox Business -- is also "unlawful."

He told Fox Business at the time: “I filed the complaint pro bono. I have no official ties with Fox News or News Corp, the company doesn’t pay me a dime, I’m not on its payroll, and no one there asked me to do this. I filed it on my own.”

Carlson noted that Gray's complaint makes it "very clear that Media Matters has violated its tax-exempt status," and asked Gray why MMFA is still allowed to have that status.

Gray pointed out that "the government is not always entirely fair" and called their lack of action as it pertains to Media Matters "abusive" because it forces taxpayers to subsidize an organization that works daily against their interests.

"If anybody wants to spend their own nickel attacking anybody on television, or what they've said, that's fine. But I don't think it ought to be subsidized by the federal government. That's completely wrong and the government ought to stay out of it," he declared.

"There's documentary evidence to show conclusively from both sides of it that Media Matters coordinated with the Hillary Clinton for President campaign in 2016," Carlson pointed out. "That would appear to be a violation."

"There's no question about it," Gray agreed. "When the complaint was first filed by me and others, they had declared war on Fox News."

Gray wrote about Media Matters' flouting of tax laws in a June 2011 piece in the Washington Times.

MMA’s activities should disallow its tax-exempt status in two fundamental ways. First, IRS rulings make clear that attacks on individuals, statement of positions that are unsupported by facts and use of inflammatory language and other distortions will cost an organization its tax-free status. Second, in declaring “guerrilla warfare” on Fox as the “leader” and “mouthpiece” of the Republican Party and in developing a sophisticated Democratic-leaning media training boot camp, MMA has transformed itself into an aggressive advocate for Democratic and progressive causes and thus produced a second deviation from exempt educational activities.

Gray told Carlson that Media Matters has been violating its tax-exempt status for over a decade and the fact that they are still allowed to do it is "really confounding" and "outrageous."

"I think it may be time for someone to speak up at the White House and say, 'look, the IRS is in the control of right-thinking or better-thinking people and let's see if we can push the IRS to treat all people fairly who don't want to subsidize speech they don't agree with,'" he said.

Carlson pointed out that there were many legitimate non-profit conservative groups during former president Obama's presidency that didn't receive tax-exempt status when Lois Lerner was in charge because she didn't like their politics.

"And now you have the IRS protecting an openly partisan group in flagrant violation of the law. You gotta think maybe there's something wrong with the IRS," Tucker said.

"There's something wrong with the IRS," Gray agreed. He added: "That's not the only agency where there's something wrong."

Gray told Carlson that if people don't speak out, "we're all lost."

"There's nothing more harmful than to keep silent when you should be defending yourself and others who are exercising their own First Amendment rights," Gray said.