Sheila McLaughlin reports:
A Butler County tea party organization is at the center of the battle involving alleged harassment by the Internal Revenue Service.
Officials from the Liberty Township Tea Party (LTTP) said they are joining the class action lawsuit against the IRS for allegedly red flagging them and making them answer a long list of questions regarding their 2010 application to be considered a charitable organization.
Tea party officials said they received another another similar set of questions this year. The organization’s website says it was established in 2009 and obtained its tax exempt status last year.
A press release emailed to The Enquirer and to WestChesterBuzz Wednesday said the organization will be represented by the American Center for Law and Justice. Board members Susan McLaughlin, Tim Savaglio and Katy Kern are traveling to Washington, D.C. Friday to participate in hearings about the IRS scandal.
“LTTP board members believe our national government used tax agency bureaucrats to investigate people and groups because of their political beliefs and gave that private information to opposing groups,” the release said.
Kern put it this way: “The IRS is just trying to be a big old backyard bully.”
Kern’s husband Dave Kern is a Liberty Township trustee and executive chairman of the Butler County Republican Party.
Documents obtained by The Enquirer and WestChesterBuzz indicate that the IRS in Cincinnati sent a letter to the tea party group on March 1, 2011. The letter asked 35 questions, asked for documentation in several areas, and gave the organization 21 days to respond.
One of the questions asked board members to “provide details regarding your relationship with Justin Bink-Thomas,” a Cincinnati tea party activist.
Liberty Township Tea Party officials called the questions “intrusive.”
“Why would the IRS ask you something about your neighbor, that’s just too big brother,” Kern said.
She said the organization also received a second set of similar questions from the IRS in 2013.