“Despite claims to the contrary, the IRS continues to target and harass pro-life and conservative charities, illegally questioning their religious activities and withholding their tax exemptions,” said Peter Breen vice president and senior counsel of the Thomas More Society. “We have now produced irrefutable evidence of six clients whose First Amendment rights were trampled upon by the IRS because of their position upholding the sanctity of life. Even after public disclosure of this wrongdoing, the Obama Administration’s IRS has refused to cease its illegal activity. We will continue to aid Congress in its investigation until those responsible are brought to justice and the IRS is made to respect every American’s constitutional rights.”Since the Thomas More Society disclosed evidence in May showing IRS harassment of three pro-life groups, the Society has been contacted by numerous additional organizations seeking legal counsel related to IRS issues. Three of these entities, Cherish Life Ministries, LIFE Group, and Emerald Coast Coalition for Life are highlighted in today’s memorandum as having experienced illegal targeting by the IRS.
The memo details the recent experience of several pro-life organizations applying for 501(c)(3) charitable recognition and reveals blatant bias on the part of the IRS agents assigned to process those applications. Repeatedly these pro-life groups were harassed with questions about time spent in prayer at abortion facilities and told that they must educate and advocate on abortion from both sides of the issue. Two groups were also falsely denied their tax exemption status by IRS agent Mrs. R. Medley who claimed they didn’t qualify under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. All three groups’ tax exemptions were delayed 13-16 months with IRS supervisors, including Lois Lerner, singling out their applications for further review by an “exemption organization specialist.” While Thomas More Society attorneys have intervened and secured relief for two of these three organizations, one organization – Emerald Coast Coalition for Life – still remains in limbo.
The Society has now presented Congressman Schock and the Committee with compelling documentation of six different groups which have experienced viewpoint-biased discrimination by the IRS, dating back to 2009 and involving multiple IRS offices and agents, including those in El Monte, California; Chicago, Illinois; and Cincinnati, Ohio.