Political Witch Hunt? IRS Targets the Tea Party

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The Tea Party has shaken up American politics with its relentless push for limited government and financial accountability.

"The government is imposing, overreaching; it's like a power grab and it's got to stop," one Tea Party protestor said.

But they've also drawn much criticism from political liberals.

"As far as I'm concerned, the Tea Party can go straight to h--," Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said last August at a forum in Inglewood, Calif.

Now, Tea Party groups say they're being targeted by the Internal Revenue Service.

ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow talked more about the case, on "The 700 Club," March 8.

In what some believe to be an attempt to intimidate and silence the Tea Party, the IRS is sending letters to Democratic and Republican organizations seeking non-profit status looking to see if funds are used properly under tax law.

The questionnaires want organizations to provide all communications with legislative bodies, describe membership criteria and the nature of the relationship with any candidate for public office.

The move has prompted the American Center for Law and Justice to step in and defend about 20 Tea Party groups from what it's calling government harassment.

ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said that many of the questions asked by the IRS fall well outside its authority.

"The IRS is demanding that groups reveal the internal workings of their organizations, including the identification of members, how they are selected, who they associate with, and even what they discuss," Sekulow said.

"This intimidation campaign is as onerous as what the IRS did to the NAACP in the 1950s and is simply unacceptable," he added.

Critics also note the 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations of Democrats have raised considerably less money than Republican organizations in the same category.

The Democrats have been pressing the IRS to respond to the tax issue.

Meanwhile, Sekulow said the ACLJ is prepared to the take the IRS to court over the matter. The ACLJ is also calling for congressional oversight hearings.

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Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.