Tax agency scandal thrusts tea party back into spotlight
18 May AFP
Left adrift in the wake of President Barack Obama's November election
victory, the anti-tax Tea Party is predicting renewed popularity and
relevance thanks to the scandal now rocking the IRS.
The federal tax agency admitted this week that it inappropriately
screened conservative groups, in particular those with "Tea Party" or
"Patriots" in their names, as they sought tax-exempt status.
"A government that's this intrusive is clearly excessive," Jenny Beth
Martin, co-founder of the movement's Tea Party Patriots umbrella group,
said Thursday at an event coordinated by Congresswoman and one-time
Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.
"Tea Party groups have been waiting for years for the IRS to treat us
fairly and equally. Instead, they have singled us out for discrimination
and persecution." Many had their applications for non-profit status
delayed for months or even years. Some faced onerous questioning, or
demands for a group's entire catalog of postings on social network sites
like Facebook and Twitter.
A member of the group American Patriots Against Government Excess was
asked to write a book report for the Internal Revenue Service for every
book her group had read, Martin said.
Such revelations touched off a firestorm in a city where Obama's
Democrats thought they might have seen the last of the Tea Party
influence that shook up American politics in the 2010 mid-term
elections, when several people aligned with the movement were elected to