By Amy Payne, Heritage Foundation/The Foundry - March 8, 2014
It’s time to go on the offense against the IRS for its targeting of conservatives, said Christine O’Donnell at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday.
“This throws a stake right into the heart of our freedom,” the former Senate candidate said of the IRS scandal, announcing she is starting a legal offense fund and hiring a team of private investigators.
The official investigation into the IRS’s targeting of groups applying for nonprofit status heats up today, as the emails of IRS official Lois Lerner will finally be turned over to Congress. But that’s not enough, panelists told the CPAC audience.
O’Donnell said she has personal experience with being targeted; her tax records were improperly accessed when she declared her candidacy for Senate in 2010, she said.
“This Administration has an arrogance of thinking they’re untouchable,” she said. “They’re using the IRS to intimidate people.”
The irony, she discovered, was that the IRS would not reveal to her who had improperly accessed her records and why. Though her confidentiality had been breached, agency confidentiality protected the bureaucrats.
O’Donnell’s case is just one of many, said Cleta Mitchell, an attorney working with several groups that have run into IRS targeting. Mitchell said at least four conservative organizations had their confidential donor lists released, and the IRS won’t tell them who was responsible.
Mitchell noted that if proposed IRS regulations go forward, candidates for office would not be able to speak at CPAC.
Right now, tea party groups are able to “connect the dots” between bad policy and the members of Congress who vote for those policies, Mitchell said, and the left doesn’t like that. That’s where tax status comes in, because it dictates what type of speech and activities organizations may engage in.