Intrusive questioning by the Internal Revenue Service effectively prevented many limited-government advocates from participating in the 2012 elections, an Ohio tea party leader tells Newsmax.
Tom Zawistowski, executive director of the Portage County Tea Party, said donors stopped contributing to causes and candidates because of the confusion and fear that the IRS created.
"They succeeded in preventing us from doing what we were trying to do in 2012," Zawistowski said. "Groups literally stopped fundraising in the summer of last year."
The IRS is under investigation for the excessive scrutiny it gave conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status, a practice that elicited complaints from the Portage County Tea Party and other groups during the 2012 presidential election campaign.
"This story is so broad and so deep that the American people are going to be outraged," Zawistowski said. "This is attacking mom and pop, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. This is a whole different level of attack."
A February 2012 letter from Zawistowski, past president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, reportedly led to congressional inquiries into the IRS targeting of conservative groups. In the letter to the IRS, the coalition refuses to comply with requests for information
The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight last week demanded the IRS provide by Wednesday all communications involving the words "tea party," "conservative," or "patriot."
The committee also is demanding the names and titles of all individuals involved in targeting conservative nonprofit groups for extra questioning.
Zawistowski and allied organizations are compiling documentation in preparation for anticipated hearings by the House Ways and Means Committee. He said the American public will be outraged once it sees the depth and intrusiveness in which the IRS engaged.
Officials in the Cincinnati IRS office — identified in letters compiled by the conservative organizations — did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Newsmax.
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