The controversial scrutiny of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service amounts to the government engaging in voter suppression, according to political journalist and Newsmax contributor John Fund.
"The Tea Party was a massive political force. It swept the 2010 elections and suddenly its momentum stopped," Fund told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"Some of that was because it was no longer the new kid on the block, but some of it was a lot of Tea Party organizations were applying for nonprofit status."
Fund said that status allowed the groups to do some political and education work up to 50 percent.
"That meant they could get donors, but the donors weren't going to contribute if they didn't get a tax deduction and . . . a Good Housekeeping seal of approval," he said.
"So a lot of groups never got off the ground, a lot of groups never started projects they were planning."
One group, True the Vote, dedicated to combatting voter fraud, has waited three years for its status.
"So a lot of things True the Vote, and other groups were planning to do weren't done. I call that voter suppression because it's suppressing political and educational activity and it was so petty," Fund said.
"I know one group that was just trying to educate people on the Constitution. They applied for status two and a half years ago. You know when the first time they ever heard from the IRS was? Last Monday."
Fund said a number of conservative groups have stayed the course, refusing to give up.
"A lot of them did stay in the game, but a lot more could have gotten in to the game," he said.
"Now the IRS is so gummed up, it's running around like a fire drill that doesn't ever seem to end and who knows if these groups are ever going to get their status."
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