As yet more evidence of scandal at the Internal Revenue Service surfaces, the founder of a conservative education group now claims the IRS demanded that his group hand over sensitive information, including the names of all its students.
Lawyer Kevin Kookogey founded Linchpins of Liberty in Franklin, Tennessee, in 2010 with the goal of educating youth about “individual liberty and morality, free markets, limited government, strong national defense, and the traditional principles of our moral and constitutional order which have been passed down through Western Civilization,” according to the organization’s website.
Kookogey applied for nonprofit status in January of 2011. Thirteen months later, the IRS sent him a long, intrusive questionnaire that asked — among many other things — the names of anyone who had ever received training from Linchpins of Liberty.
Since the work of the organization is educating youth, Kookogey interpreted the question to mean he would have to provide the names of all of his students.
“Can you imagine my responsibility to parents if I disclosed the names of their children to the IRS?” he said in a statement to The Daily Mail.
Given that IRS authorities have now admitted that the agency illegally targeted conservative and tea party groups for extra scrutiny, Kookogey has little doubt that Linchpins for Liberty was treated unfairly.
“[It] should send chills through your spine that the government would ask me to identify those I teach, and to provide details of what I teach them,” he said.
The IRS delayed approval of Linchpins for Liberty’s nonprofit status, causing Kookogey to lose a $30,000 grant. When he called the the IRS to find out why the process was taking so long, an agent told him, “we are waiting on guidance from our superiors as to your organization and similar organizations.”
The American Center for Law and Justice plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of Linchpins of Liberty and 26 other conservative groups that suffered discrimination at the hands of the IRS.
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