Irate Tea Party Says Time to 'Audit' the IRS

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WASHINGTON -- Members of the Tea Party flooded Capitol Hill Wednesday upset about the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups for special scrutiny, and what some would call harassment.

They gathered by the thousands in a rally they called "Audit the IRS."

Laurie Kalata, with the Richmond Tea Party, told CBN News that she's "horribly offended" over the agency's actions.

"It wouldn't matter if it was just conservative groups," she said. "Everybody should be concerned about it because it takes away our liberties no matter who you are."

"Even the liberals need to start standing up because they're taking away our rights one after another," Sandy Spitler, from Midlothian, Va., said.

Ellie Rice, from Richmond, Va., agreed.

"Who will stand up and speak if we don't all stand up together? Whenever any one of us is targeted we should all be concerned," she said. 

"This surpasses left and right," Becky Gerritson, the head of the Wetumpka Tea Party in Alabama, said. "This is American citizens versus big government."

Gerritson became a Tea Party hero when she went before Congress a few days ago to say Washington politicians aren't in charge of this country.
               
"They have forgotten their place," Gerritson said of the politicians. "They act like lords over us and treat us like we're the serfs. And they need to get that back in balance."

Larry Nordvig, Richmond Tea Party executive director, said the IRS wrapped his group up in knots for more than two years just before the crucial 2012 election.

"We were messing around with the IRS and producing 500-plus pages of documents instead of being out there advocating and educating, which is what our mission is," Nordvig stated. "So it knocked us off mission during the election cycle."

The IRS held up the tax status for Gerritson's Tea Party group 635 days, although the agency's own rules say they can't take longer than 270 days.

That certainly upset her. But what scared her was what the IRS asked for.

"Them wanting to know the names of my volunteers," Gerritson said. "I can understand them wanting to know the donor names, even though it's wrong. But what were they going to do with my volunteers, who aren't even donating money? That was really scary to me. And them wanting to have copies of every speech we'd ever given. That's just creepy."

Jenny Beth Martin's Tea Party Patriots organized the rally.

"The Constitution is designed to constrain the government," Martin told the crowd. "This knowledge in the hands of free people is a threat to those who lust for power and authority."

So far, there's no proof the Obama administration was behind the orders to give special scrutiny to Tea Party groups. But it still came in for plenty of criticism at the "Audit the IRS" rally.

"I feel what the Obama administration has done is essentially McCarthyism of the Left," George Ball, with the Delaware Railsplliters Society, said. "And not only that, but it's combined with the Mob politics of Chicago."

From the podium, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, worried about where all the scandals are going when you put them altogether.

"And if this broad federal government can track every phone call, if they can track every Internet activity you have, if they can track your credit card, if they can track your cell phone, and if the IRS can then have a software package to focus their enforcement on the enemies of the president of the United States, this big brother has gotten a lot creepier than George Orwell ever thought it would get," King warned.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.