Cleta Mitchell: Proposed IRS Rules Seek to Silence Dissent

Tuesday, 04 Feb 2014 05:37 PM

By Cathy Burke and John Bachman

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President Barack Obama's assertion that there's "not even a smidgen of corruption" in the IRS is an "outrageous" statement, given the agency's targeting of tea party and conservative activists, lawyer Cleta Mitchell said Tuesday.

In an exclusive interview with Cathy Burke and John Bachman on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum," Mitchell blasted proposed IRS rules on regulating tax-exempt groups participating in political activities, likening the restrictions to "big, fat, permanent duct tape across the mouths of citizens" trying to "hold their elected officials accountable."

"And when the president says there's not a smidgen of corruption in the IRS scandal, I just have to say, Mr. President, you're a Chicago politician; you guys have a different definition of corruption than the rest of us do," she said Tuesday.

Mitchell said Obama administration officials "don't really understand what the fuss is about" when it comes to the IRS targeting scandal.

"They view the activities of conservatives and tea party groups as somehow odd," she said. ""They're used to from the college campuses and from the mainstream media and from their public officials — from the White House and the president on down — attacking conservative activists and grassroots tea party organizations and leaders.

"They think that they're doing what they're supposed to be doing by excessively scrutinizing and trying to figure out what these strange people are doing."

Tea party activists are ramping up efforts to fight the proposed IRS rules, rallying people to file their opposition with the agency before the Feb. 27 deadline — even as Mitchell said she's collecting documents related to the proposed rules.

"When these rules were posted, [the] agency is supposed to include any background materials and documents related to the proposed rulemaking," she noted. "The IRS says there are none; zero," she said, adding that the Treasury Department later conceded it'll take until April to collect the documents she requested.

"They're lying when they say there are no background documents," she said. "They've been working on these regulations for a long time and have been trying to figure out a way to . . . take away the tax-exempt status that they were forced to grant [tea party groups] in the last year."

Mitchell predicted that even if the new rules are adopted, they'll never be enforced equally because "that's just the way it's always been."

"Whether it's the Federal Election Commission or the IRS, the rules — and even rules that don't exist — are always selectively enforced more against conservative organizations and Republicans than against liberal groups and Democrats," she said.

She urged those opposed to the proposed restrictions to file their complaints through the website WeWillNotBeSilenced.org.

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