Lawmaker: IRS Probed Prayers of Pro-Life Group

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Republicans and even some Democrats on Capitol Hill expressed growing concern about details of IRS abuses against conservative and religious groups following more revelations about who and what has been targeted by tax authorities in the past several years.

The Washington Examiner reports that the IRS refused to approve an application of tax exempt status for a group called the Coalition for Life of Iowa unless it sent a letter certifying that it would not picket against Planned Parenthood.

In addition, the Coalition was asked by the IRS about the content of its prayers.

During a hearing Friday in the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., asked outgoing IRS Commissioner Steven Miller whether he thought that was proper.

"Their question, specifically asked from the IRS to the Coalition for Life of Iowa:  'Please detail the content of the members of your organization's prayers,'" Shock stated during the hearing. He then asked Miller, "Would that be an inappropriate question to a 501 C3 applicant [for tax exempt status] --the content of one's prayers?"

"It pains me to say I can't speak to that one either," Miller answered."

Miller said that although he couldn't address the specific case, it wouldn't "surprise" him if the question was asked.

Republicans in both the House and Senate have called for a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS, and Democratic Senator Max Baucus of Montana, who is not seeking reelection, called the agency's actions and "outrageous abuse of power and a breach of the public's trust."

The American Center for Law and Justice called the IRS behavior against conservative and religious groups "unconscionable and intolerable."  ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow says his group will file a federal lawsuit in the coming week on behalf of ten Tea Party organizations still facing IRS investigations. 

The suit will name the Department of Treasury, the IRS and government offficials as defendants. 

 

 

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