Tea Party “Working The Refs” in IRS Scandal

Bill Berkowitz's pictureWhat has gotten lost in the feeding frenzy surround the IRS is the actual partisan political involvement of many of the Tea Party groups applying for 501(c)(4) status.

Take the First Coast Tea Party of Jacksonville, Florida. It applied for 501(c)(4) status in 2009 and received it in 2011. According to the IREHR report, First Coast was involved with the Romney/Ryan campaign for the presidency: “Commenting about the recent IRS controversy on Facebook, the group declared ‘We file a tax return, account for every penny. We do not endorse candidates that is a no no.'” However, “In an August 30, 2012 Facebook post, … the group advertised a Jacksonville rally for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, adding, ‘bring your chairs and your signs, make sure they know that the First Coast Tea Party is and has been helping their campaign.'”

Sensing a campaign running aground in Florida, First Coast declared a “state of emergency” on Facebook and issued the following plea: “FLORIDA FRIENDS, IF YOU LIVE IN ANY OF THESE 3 COUNTIES GET OFF THE COUCH NOW, GET YOUR FRIENDS OFF THE COUCH. GET TO THE REPUBLICAN HEADQUARTERS AND OFFER AND THEN DO SOME WORK. PHONES, (YOU CAN EVEN DO THESE CALLS FROM HOME) AND WALK AND KNOCK. NOW. WE CANNOT LOSE FLORIDA TO OBAMA. NOW. THIS IS MOST CRITICAL.” [Emphasis in Original]

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