In the city of Chattanooga, there is an organization known as Chattanooga Organized for Action. For those of us who follow politics, we recognize them as a group that most would call left-wing, radical, Occupy Wall Street supporters. In fact, many of the values of COA and Obama’s advocacy group, Organizing for Action, are the same.
Two of the founders and leaders of COA are Chris Brooks and Perrin Lance. I have had the opportunity to meet and interact with Chris and Perrin on a number of occasions. They are bright young men. But the focus of this article is not Chris or Perrin or even COA but rather an interesting bit of information that I turned up after doing just some very basic research.
As has already been noted in Part 2 of this series on the IRS’ bullying and targeting of tea party groups, here is an abbreviated timeline of the Chattanooga Tea Party:
April 2009: CTP Founded
July 2009: Incorporated in Tennessee as a Non Profit Corporation
November 2009: Filed application for 501(c)4 status with IRS.
April 2013: IRS Notice tax exempt status approved - but only as of May 2012 (denied Nov. 2009 - May 2012.)
From what I’ve been able to determine from public websites about Chattanooga Organized for Action (a group aligned with Obama’s political views), here is the pertinent part of COA’s timeline:
April 2011: Incorporated in Tennessee as a Non Profit Corporation
2012: Filed Form 990-N for 2012 (which indicates IRS approved non profit status in roughly a year or less)
So here we have a scenario where one organization, the Chattanooga Tea Party, a group committed to the Constitution and opposed to Obama’s big-government and higher taxes agenda, requests nonprofit status nearly two years before Chattanooga Organized for Action is even incorporated, a group that endorses much if not all of Obama’s agenda. But CTP’s request is denied for the first three years, and then only approved nearly four years after the request was initially filed.
On the other hand COA, with a pro-Obama agenda, files their non profit application with the IRS two years after the Chattanooga Tea Party and COA receives tax exempt approval within the first year of application and nearly a year before the CTP. Regardless of your political persuasion, does this strike you as wrong? As an American does this make you angry?
Remember what IRS Director Lois Lerner stated when she first acknowledged the IRS’s wrongdoings this week and offered a hollow apology? She indicated: “They (IRS) didn’t do this because of any political bias.”
Oh really? You expect us to believe that lie?
Perhaps Ms. Lerner needs to be the first to see the door, followed with any others who participated in this totalitarian style tactic of targeting, harassing, and defrauding law abiding Americans who happen to support and promote the Constitution.
* * *
As someone who has had training from the Green Party on forming PAC's and non-profits, I find Mark West's tirade on the IRS interesting.
While this training was before the right wing judicial activism known as Citizen United, the rules for 501c3's and 501c4's have not changed.
To receive tax exempt status under this section of IRS code the primary purpose of an organization is suppose to be non-political.
Can Mark West state with a straight face that the primary mission of the Chattanooga Tea Party, which has endorsed political candidates in the past, is primarily non-political?
Let's also not forget the many financial scandals that been plaguing Tea Party groups across the country. Remember the failed National Convention in Nashville? Where members of the Tea Party movement itself were asking the sponsors, Tea Party Inc., where the money was going?
How about Brenda Lenard, the Tea Party candidate that ran against Bob Corker? She had explain about her bankruptcy and fraud convictions.
Similar cases involving Tea Party members and groups can be found across the country. I would hope any IRS agent worth their salt, aware of that history, would look carefully into those cases.
And let's not forget that the Tea Party constituted about a third of the groups scrutinized and unlike some liberal groups, did not have their exemption refused. Let's also remember that this happened under a IRS Bush appointee.
The real scandal is the flood of political groups that erupted after Citizen's United trying to hide their donors behind tax exempt rules.
We need real campaign finance reform. Does anyone really believe the Tea Party or Karl Roves Crossroads GPS are not political groups that shouldn't have to register with the federal election commission?
R. W. Young
Hamilton County Green Party