IRS Harassment of Pro-Life Groups Continues Despite Claims to Contrary

National   Tom Ciesielka, Steven Ertelt   Aug 1, 2013   |   5:18PM    Washington, DC

Today, the Thomas More Society has submitted an updated second memorandum to Congressman Aaron Schock (IL-18) of the House Committee on Ways and Means, detailing additional evidence of continued IRS targeting of pro-life organizations.

Despite claims by the Obama Administration that the harassment has ceased, the Society produced over 250 pages of documentation showing that the federal government is still interrogating pro-life groups beyond the scope of its legal authority, infringing upon these organizations’ First Amendment rights of assembly, free speech, and religious liberty.

“Despite claims to the contrary, the IRS continues to target and harass pro-life and conservative charities, illegally questioning their religious activities and withholding their tax exemptions,” said Peter Breen vice president and senior counsel of the Thomas More Society. “We have now produced irrefutable evidence of six clients whose First Amendment rights were trampled upon by the IRS because of their position upholding the sanctity of life. Even after public disclosure of this wrongdoing, the Obama Administration’s IRS has refused to cease its illegal activity. We will continue to aid Congress in its investigation until those responsible are brought to justice and the IRS is made to respect every American’s constitutional rights.”

Since the Thomas More Society disclosed evidence in May showing IRS harassment of three pro-life groups, the Society has been contacted by numerous additional organizations seeking legal counsel related to IRS issues.

Three of these entities, Cherish Life Ministries, LIFE Group, and Emerald Coast Coalition for Life are highlighted in today’s memorandum as having experienced illegal targeting by the IRS.

The memo details the recent experience of several pro-life organizations applying for 501(c)(3) charitable recognition and reveals blatant bias on the part of the IRS agents assigned to process those applications. Repeatedly these pro-life groups were harassed with questions about time spent in prayer at abortion facilities and told that they must educate and advocate on abortion from both sides of the issue. Two groups were also falsely denied their tax exemption status by IRS agent Mrs. R. Medley who claimed they didn’t qualify under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code.

All three groups’ tax exemptions were delayed 13-16 months with IRS supervisors, including Lois Lerner, singling out their applications for further review by an “exemption organization specialist.” While Thomas More Society attorneys have intervened and secured relief for two of these three organizations, one organization – Emerald Coast Coalition for Life – still remains in limbo.

The Society has now presented Congressman Schock and the Committee with compelling documentation of six different groups which have experienced viewpoint-biased discrimination by the IRS, dating back to 2009 and involving multiple IRS offices and agents, including those in El Monte, California; Chicago, Illinois; and Cincinnati, Ohio.

IRS officials knew as early as 2010 that pro-life and conservative groups were being targeted by the Internal Revenue Service. Of course, no news broke about the scandal until after President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election victory.

Reports indicate President Barack Obama’s top attorney knew in April that the Internal Revenue Service was targeting pro-life and conservative groups. The reports show Obama’s top lawyer was notified in April that the Treasury Department’s inspector general had finished an audit of the IRS over the allegations.

James Dobson, the pro-life family advocate, disclosed that he was a victim of IRS discrimination because he spoke out against pro-abortion President Barack Obama.

In one case LifeNews has profiled, a pro-life group was told it had to promote abortion. A top pro-life legal group also informed LifeNews that cases it handled support mounting accusations that demonstrate the agency’s abuse of pro-life org

To read the most recent Thomas More Society memo to Congressman Aaron Schock of the House Ways and Means Committee click here