Ben Goldschmidt reports:
While the IRS is still under investigation for allegedly targeting political groups unfairly, those who were affected believe without a doubt its intentions were to target conservative groups.
Four witnesses stood before the Ohio House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee — comprised of eight Republicans and five Democrats — Thursday at the University of Cincinnati to explain their strong conviction and elaborate on how they were affected.
Timothy Savaglio, board member of the Liberty Township TEA Party, said dealing with the IRS’s demands following his request for his organization to be recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit became a “full-time job.”
“I served 23 years in the United States Air Force voluntarily giving up personal freedoms only to find my government placed barriers and obstruction when I exercised those liberties as an ordinary citizen,” Savaglio said.
He applied for the tax exempt status in May 2010, and his request still hasn’t been approved or denied by the IRS.
Others experienced the sort of “obstruction” Savaglio said he underwent as a result of this process. Marion Bower, president of the American Patriots Against Government Excess, said she had to fill out about 250 pages of information while applying to become a 501 (c)(4) organization. Her status was granted after about two and a half years.
“We have a small business, so when you have a government agency come in and do an audit of any kind … everything stops while you’re dealing with that,” Bower said.
Bower, Savaglio and Justin Binik-Thomas — the only individual in Ohio who says he was targeted by the IRS — presented evidence of questions the IRS asked them dealing specifically with political affiliation. These questions included whether or not politicians spoke at the groups’ events, if “voter education” is attempted, and if the groups have or will conduct “rallies.”
Some Cincinnati IRS agents were invited to attend, but none came.
The committee will be writing a resolution to urge members of Congress to take more action in regards to the IRS investigation. Ohio congressmen don’t necessarily have to act on that resolution.
“What the IRS is asking of people is way out of line,” said State Rep. Andrew Brenner (R-Powell), who is on the committee. “Anger and shock are the things I’d say I feel after hearing these testimonies.”