Bowdeya Tweh reports:
More than 250 people chanted, marched and voiced their frustration with the Internal Revenue Service Tuesday in response to concerns the agency provided unfair scrutiny to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status in recent years.
Before noon, attendees — many carrying signs decrying the IRS practices — began to gather at Fountain Square in preparation for the couple-block walk to the John Weld Peck Federal Building. The building houses IRS workers in Cincinnati, which has been at the center of the controversy.
By 12:15 p.m., people outside building led calls including “USA not KGB,” and “Hey, hey, ho ho, the IRS has got to go.”
Ted Stevenot, of Cincinnati, president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, a coalition of local tea party group members, said the protest was about protecting citizens’ rights.
“A government when it gets too big gets unwieldy and sometimes it kind of takes on a life of its own,” Stevenot said.
The rally occurred about the same time a hearing in Washington was wrapping up involving former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman was grilled by lawmakers about his knowledge about the targeting.
Cincinnati Tea Party President Ann Becker said the local rally was one of about 50 locations around the United States Tuesday as a show of force against the agency’s practices. Becker, of West Chester, said she and other local Tea Party members got the idea to host an event after a text message exchange last week.
Becker said the rally also helped galvanize support among Tea Party activists and she has received numerous messages of support and requests asking how they can provide assistance.
“It has given people energy that there’s a place to go with this, that we’re here to help faciliate that energy,” Becker said. “It’s a good thing the Tea Party is here for them.”
At the federal building, representatives including Becker and Stevenot walked inside and delivered a “letter” to security to present to IRS officials asking for a halt to targeting groups. Becker said she isn’t sure if the letter will be delivered, but said the protest met expectations.
However, not everyone was impressed at the protest and rally. Many onlookers, including David Meredith of Cincinnati, questioned the motives of the Tea Party members and said they deserved the additional scrutiny.