Senator Confronts IRS Director Over Pro-Life Group Told to Promote Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 21, 2013   |   6:27PM   |   Washington, DC

A U.S. senator confronted the acting director of the Internal Revenue Service today with charges that the agency targeted pro-life groups with discrimination.

As LifeNews reported, the Internal Revenue Service was also targeting a pro-life Iowa group that acts in part as a watchdog over the Planned Parenthood abortion business. It was refusing to grant nonprofit tax status to the Coalition for Life of Iowa unless it agreed to limit its “picketing” and “protesting” of Planned Parenthood.

In papers to the group, the IRS questioned the “educational” nature of the Coalition’s materials, prayer meetings, talks and other pro-life activities.

Today, Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican confronted outgoing IRS Acting Commission Steven Miller about the discrimination. From CNS News:

“This comes directly from Iowa, one of my constituents attempted to establish 501(c)(3) charity called Coalition for Life of Iowa. She told my staff that an IRS agent told her ‘Your application’s ready to go. However, it will not be approved until you send a letter signed by your entire board under penalty of perjury saying that you will not protest at Planned Parenthood,’” Grassley said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups.

Grassley called it “outrageous” that the statement would even be “made by anybody in government that somehow you’ve got to compromise your First Amendment rights.”

In addition to the order that the group promise not to protest Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, Grassley’s constituent received a letter from the IRS with “several invasive questions, including the details of the group’s prayer meeting,” he said.

“Now stop to think about it – the government getting involved in somebody having a prayer meeting. It appears that the IRS essentially offered this group a quid pro quo – You can become a charity if you don’t protest in front of a Planned Parenthood, generally speaking so you don’t have to worry about 6103,” Grassley said.

Miller said he could not speak to the specific organization in question but apologized on behalf of the agency.