IRS Demanded List of Students from Conservative Educational Group

Image: IRS Demanded List of Students from Conservative Educational Group

Wednesday, 15 May 2013 11:24 AM

By Lisa Barron

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The Internal Revenue Service ordered a conservative educational group in Tennessee to provide the agency with a list of everyone the organization had trained or planned to train.

In a Feb. 14, 2012 letter to Kevin Kookogey, founder of Linchpins of Liberty, a group that teaches high school and college students about conservative political philosophy, the IRS wrote, “Provide details regarding all training you have provided or will provide.”

“Indicate who has received or will receive the training and submit copies of the training material,” the IRS asked the group.

Kookogey had submitted the application for tax-exempt nonprofit status in May 2011. Speaking to MailOnline, he said, "Can you imagine my responsibility to parents if I disclosed the names of their children to the IRS?"

"It's an impossible question to answer fully and truthfully without disclosing the names of anyone I ever taught, or would ever teach, including students," Kookogey added.

The question was one of more than 90 that the tax collection agency posed to Linchpins of Liberty. It "should send chills through your spine that the government would ask me to identify those I teach, and to provide details of what I teach them," Kookogey told the publication.

He went on to call the IRS's request "unethical, unconstitutional and unfair," adding that the group was "targeted by the IRS based on our political beliefs and the content of our speech."

Kookogey also maintains that his group has no tea party connection, telling The Tennessean that its "ideas are opposed to the Obama administration, but we're not tea party."

The American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Linchpins of Liberty and 26 other conservative groups, said it is planning to file a lawsuit against the IRS.

Jordan Sekulow, chief counsel for the ACLJ, wrote in an essay for on Tuesday that even though the Inspector General's report released to the media over the weekend "indicates that wrongdoing was widespread, the IRS still hasn't withdrawn its overbroad and unconstitutional questions, and it still hasn't granted the exemptions it should grant, despite the fact that some applications have been pending for more than two years."

Sekulow has demanded that the IRS grant the pending tax-exempt requests by noon on Friday or be prepared to fight in court.

"We sent the IRS a letter demanding that it grant tax exemptions for all pending applications for our clients, and we also demanded that the IRS hold accountable all those responsible for its unconstitutional policy and actions," he wrote.

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