BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. WEBER of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Texas.
As we all know, in May of 2013, it was unearthed--that is probably a pretty good word, because they had it deeply buried in the government bureaucracy--that the IRS was unjustly targeting conservative 501(c)(4) groups and using aggressive intimidation tactics. Today, I rise with my colleagues to share the story of organizations that were unlawfully targeted by the IRS or Infernal Revenue Service, as I like to refer to them.
In southeast Texas, in my district, Texas District 14--they are on the gulf coast--the Clear Lake Tea Party was just such a group, one of many that fell victim to the IRS' illegal--and I want to underscore that--illegal maneuvers.
On November 23, 2009, the Clear Lake Tea Party filed their 501(c)(4) tax exempt status. After having received no word from the IRS for almost 8 months, the founder of the Clear Lake Tea Party made an inquiry regarding the status of their application. What they got back from the IRS should shock and appall every American. Here is what Mary Huls, president of the Clear Lake Tea Party, sent our office, what they got back on July 12, 2010:
The Clear Lake Tea Party received an additional information request from Elizabeth Hofacre in the Cincinnati, Ohio, office of the IRS demanding 19 more nontax-related items to complete our application.
The Clear Lake Tea Party board was duly alarmed by the broad and personal nature of the information required, which we would have to deliver and declare under penalties of perjury. We judged the questions to be far outside the normal purview of a nominal request for a tax exempt designation.
For example, number one: they were requested to provide a list of speakers and their qualifications for events that the Clear Lake Tea Party have had in the prior year. They were asked to provide copies of information that was easily found on Facebook and Twitter.
And then, believe it or not, the Clear Lake Tea Party there in Galveston, Texas, Clear Lake, League City, Galveston County area, was asked to explain their relationship with the King Street Patriots, another Tea Party.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I was born at night, but it wasn't last night. What in the world does that have to do with their application for their own tax exempt (c)(4) status?
Number 4, they were asked to--and let me just hasten to add, they were not asked to explain their relationship with ACORN or moveon.org or Organizing For America.
Number 4, they were asked to explain the Operation Pink Slip Program and to provide literature concerning this program. How did you decide who would be fired?
Of course, the Clear Lake Tea Party, their immediate reaction upon receiving this information was confusion. You see, they had already been investigated by an IRS agent.
Well, after the IRS' beyond intrusive and illegal, I might add, investigation of the Clear Lake Tea Party, the Clear Lake Tea Party's board met and made the executive decision to withdraw their 501(c)(4) application and to file with the State of Texas as a Texas nonprofit corporation that pays taxes in order to practice and protect their First Amendment freedom of speech.
We got a subsequent email from Ms. Huls, president of the Clear Lake Tea Party, and she stated in that email that they would not be intimidated by this Federal agency or any other, and they would go down a different path. And so they chose to file as a Texas nonprofit.
Mr. Speaker, it is an absolute shame, and I will say a travesty, that the head of the IRS, the former head, could come up to testify in front of our committees, stick her finger in the face of the American taxpayer, in the eye, I would say, and say, I am going to claim the Fifth Amendment. I don't have to answer your questions. I don't have to be accountable to you. I don't have to be accountable to the American taxpayer.
And what I said to my district was, try that one on for size when the IRS wants to audit you. Get in front of their agents, their Gestapo, their henchmen and say, I plead the Fifth Amendment. I don't have to answer your questions, and see how that works.
It is unbelievable, Mr. Speaker, that in the United States of America, we are scrutinized for the applications we file and words are chosen like conservatives, King Street Patriots, and we are so deeply scrutinized as to drive the Clear Lake Tea Party to withdraw their (c)(4) tax exempt status.
Not in America should this ever happen. I am urging my colleagues in the House to join me and my fellow patriots all across this land to continue that cry that the justified scrutiny of the IRS to make sure two things, that those who did this are held accountable, and that it never, ever can happen again in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Mr. Speaker, I am Randy Weber, and I love my country. It is the government I fear.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT