IRS Targeted “Folks Waving Tea Bags Around”

IRS Sign

NFL Player, Evan Mathis, taking his frustrations out on an IRS sign.

The IRS, a bureau of the Department of Treasury and the same agency that will be enforcing the Obamacare “tax”, is tasked with enforcing the laws that help determine what organizations can be considered non-profit and tax-exempt.

Over the past week it was revealed that they targeted conservative “tea party” groups that were filing for tax-exempt status by applying heavier scrutiny to applicants with conservative, pro-American, and pro-Constitution sounding names.

During that increased scrutiny of conservative groups, the IRS asked these groups to provide the names of donors and strangely, Facebook posts.

The issue has left many wondering whether the IRS, who’s employees gave a significantly higher percentage to President Obama in the past two elections, has been targeting individual filers because of their political leanings.

The House Committee on Ways and Means has released questions they plan to ask the IRS in the Friday, May 17th hearing. One of those is, “What steps, if any, has the IRS taken to ensure that the targeting of individuals and organizations does not occur in the future?”

Individuals have come forward claiming that they believe they were targeted because of their conservative beliefs. One of those is Frank VanderSloot, one of Romney’s biggest supporters. VanderSloot was listed on President Obama’s infamous “enemies list” and says he was audited shortly after making the list.

Ironically, the IRS’s mission states that they are to “enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all.” The U.S. tax system is built on trust (in both directions) and Americans depend on the IRS to act responsibly. This issue naturally will lead to more distrust in one of the Government’s most powerful organizations, not just for how they treat non-profits, but how they treat individuals.

Since the scandal broke, the President, who unfortunately joked about auditing his enemies in the past, has fired the already resigned head of the IRS and distanced from the IRS stating, “I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives.”

However, the Administration has participated in a culture that mocked these tea party groups. The President made his statement about “folks waving tea bags around” back in 2009. Vice President Biden called the Tea Party “terrorists” during the 2011 debt ceiling debates. The President also recently warned graduates to ignore those “voices” warning of tyranny during a 2013 recent commencement speech.

The House Committee on Ways and Means will begin a full investigation into this issue on Friday, May 17th. The Senate Finance Committee is also planning a hearing.

Last Edited: December 22, 2014 @ 12:07 pm The content of is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
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Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, financial writer, FinCon CEO, and husband and father of three. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.


  1. So wait, this was an IRS directive from the very top? Or was it one office? I’ve heard conflicting reports

    • Debt Blag That’s the million-dollar question. Which likely will never be answered. Obama “fired” the head of the IRS. I guess we have to assume that’s where the buck stopped. I look forward to seeing the hearings.

    • Debt Blag On your second point, the one office is THE office that handles exempt groups. It’s not like there are hundreds of offices doing this. This was the ONE office doing it. It just so happens to be based in Cincinnati:

      • Philip TaylorGotcha. I suppose a division in the Cincy office would be headed by what, a GS-14? I’m surprised that the GS-14 wasn’t the first one fired for violating regulations written by the Treasury.
        After reading your post, I have to say that to me, the bigger story isn’t that some overtly political organizations masquerading as social welfare organization were singled out for harsher scrutiny; it’s that all aren’t very harshly scrutinized. Or at a deeper level, that any overtly political organizations are allowed that designation (and its tax and opacity benefits).

        • Debt Blag Philip Taylor Apparently that GS-14 got put in charge of Obamacare implementation.
          The tax code is definitely too big and confusing.

  2. DebtChronicles says:

    I personally like how Obama is saying an investigation is not necessary – that he will personally ensure all the wrong doers are punished appropriately and that the practice ceases.  Sure, boss…..nothing to see here, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain….

  3. Couldn’t agree more; far too many complexities that create loopholes for manifest political organization to crawl through