The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has made many headlines in the last several days by admitting to specifically targeting conservative groups for audits and similar inquiries.
Though the controversy revolves primarily around groups associated with the "Tea Party" movement, New Hampshire Tea Party Coalition (NHTPC) founder Jane Aitken said her liberty-minded organization was not among those targeted by the IRS.
"It's political warfare, for people to use their political power to go after others," Aiken told Bedford Patch. "It's despicable no matter who is being targeted, though we, as a legitimate Tea Party group, were not impacted."
"While we decry the practice of using the IRS to target anyone, we have not been subject to this scrutiny because we as the original movement do not collect/distribute or deal with money," said Aitken, in a prepared statement. "Many of the groups in question are GOP PACs founded by GOP consultants calling themselves 'tea parties'."
In fact, the NHTPC published the following message on its website to clarify its stance on the matter:
There’s been a lot of buzz in the media lately about so-called ‘tea party’ groups who were apparently targeted by the IRS. For legitimate groups, this could only have been a good thing.
For example, the “Tea Party Patriots” claim to be the “nation’s largest tea party organization.” Really? You could have fooled us. They are actually a GOP PAC started by GOP consultants, back in 2009. Jenny Beth Martin is known to have sent NH residents letters begging to raise $10M to underwrite her jet setting ways.
Same goes for the “Tea Party Express” a silly bus that carries a road show around, featuring mostly establishment Republicans. This group is another GOP PAC that was created in 2009 by GOP consultant Sal Russo (a man who described Mitt Romney as ‘inspirational’) in the hopes he could ‘water down’ the agenda of the real movement. Recently, TPE’s spokesperson Amy Kremer said Americans had no choice but to trust the president in matters of foreign policy… Uh, no. Foreign policy was one of the lynchpin issues of the tea party and remains so, considering that Obama has employed Bush 43′s agenda on steroids.
Then we have something called “TheTeaparty.net”. This group is really a creation of TownHall.com an existing, mainstream, “conservative” blogging site. It is 100% neocon. This group employs among others, a professional fundraiser named Todd Cefaratti who has already been caught absconding with almost half million dollars collected from unsuspecting people who thought they were donating to a movement when they sent him their money through a website he set up using the tea party name.
Then there is “Tea Party Nation” run by the self-absorbed narcissist Atty Judson Phillips (he’s even got a link with his name on it on his tea party website) who sent voter guides to New Hampshire residents containing wrong information about the positions of certain candidates. The last two mailers we received from that group were what is called “unsolicited commercial spam”. What a way to use your members’ email addresses! We will never do that.
Just remember these folks had little or nothing to do with the formation of the legitimate tea party movement in 2007. When you donate to them, you may as well be donating to the very GOP candidates that have turned their backs on you. At the very least, the money is going straight to GOP lobbyists, consultants, and a full slate of employees.
The tea party movement in NH remains what it was from the start — an unfunded libertarian effort started by many young people across the nation who still work for your liberty without collecting a cent or automatically endorsing GOP candidates. We don’t claim to speak for you in DC either. We instead will continue to attempt to educate and inform those who will listen, and hope they’ll do the right thing on their own.
New Hampshire Politicians React
U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) was among a number of Democrats to publicly criticize the "undue scrutiny on organizations based on their political affiliations."
"The news that the IRS targeted organizations for additional review based on their political affiliations is deeply troubling and deserves full investigation. This was an outrageous abuse of power that goes against some of our nation’s founding principles. The IRS cannot be in the business of singling out organizations based on their political beliefs, and the President should act quickly and decisively in holding those responsible for this abuse accountable."
On the other side of the aisle, former New Hampshire Speaker Bill O'Brien (R-Mont Vernon) called on U.S. Congresswomen Ann Kuster (NH District 2) and Carol Shea-Porter (NH District 1) to follow Shaheen's lead.
“With the latest chilling revelations of targeting of conservative and Jewish groups by the IRS, the specter of governmental tax persecution based on politics has now been exposed. It is highly disappointing that we in New Hampshire have not heard either of our House members join with those calling for a U.S. House investigation of these IRS abuses," said O'Brien
Shea-Porter, Monday, issued a statement against the IRS actions.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable for the IRS to single out organizations based on political affiliation," she said. "We don’t tolerate discrimination in this country, and if reports of IRS employees violating this standard are true, they should be held accountable.”
O'Brien, who is rumored to be challenging Kuster in 2014, made especially pointed comments at the first-term congresswomen.
“As an attorney who should know the history of political abuse by federal agencies, Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster should not let party loyalty stand in the way of doing all she can to investigate and prevent the IRS targeting Americans, including her constituents, based on political and religious beliefs alone. She needs to speak out now on how this abuse is corrosive to our citizens’ trust in government," added O'Brien, in a statement sent out to New Hampshire media outlets Monday. “Given her recent tax problems, Representative Kuster must be aware of the awesome power of the IRS to use its authority over taxes to disrupt lives. She should be leading the call for an investigation. Not only her conservative and Jewish constituents, but all those who care about avoiding government abuse based on politics should call on her to file a resolution now to have the investigation begin.”