Some members of Congress have begun to question the legality of these demands.
Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander recently said, “The government should not have what amounts to an enemies list based on what people or organizations say or believe.”
Given the true grassroots nature of the tea party, independent groups do not have the financial or human resources to properly fight back. By abusing the IRS’s authority, the Obama administration is suppressing the movement’s freedom of speech.
This is a dangerous precedent to set — and it should concern all Americans, whether someone’s a tea partier or not. As Tom Zawistowski, the executive director of the Portage County Tea Party, put it, “This is the kind of personal information that this government is going to be demanding from your church, your doctor, your hospital, your business and your favorite charity going forward.”
The tea party will fight back.
We have joined with Zawistowski and other conservative activists to launch ProtectTheTeaParty.com and form the Liberty Defense Foundation, an alliance created of, by and for the grassroots tea party movement that is meant to serve as a resource for the IRS’s tea party targets.
Obama’s IRS is unfairly working to shut down tea party groups or — at the very least — force successful organizations to turn their attention away from the important issues they fight for every day.
The movement’s voice will not be left unheard. We will take on the Obama administration, fight against its attempts to confiscate our First Amendment rights, push back against administration officials’ demands for us to send them everything, protect the tea party and ensure that all Americans can take advantage of their constitutional liberties.
Eric Wilson is the director of the Kentucky 9/12 Project, and Toby Marie Walker is the lead facilitator of the Waco Tea Party. Both groups have been involved with the IRS’s proceedings and are founding board members of the Liberty Defense Foundation (www.ProtectTheTeaParty.com).