Bill Maher Exposes IRS Forms for Tea Party Members

On Friday night’s episode of “Real Time,” Maher admitted that he’s quite convinced that the IRS was unfairly scrutinizing Tea Party members — and he has the tax forms to prove it.

While Maher pokes fun at the GOP’s current scandal mongering, it’s important to note that not a single “tea party” or “patriot” applicant was denied tax exempt status.  On the other hand, the only known 501(c)(4) applicant to have its status denied happens to be a progressive group: the Maine chapter of Emerge America, which trains Democratic women to run for office. Plus, all Emerge America chapters that has previously been approved in 2006 under then President Bush had their previously approved status revoked.

Personally, I find it interesting that a Bush appointed inspector-general, who proclaim in the Congressional hearing that he’s a Republican, investigated only Republican organizations that got  scrutiny of their applications for tax-exempt status.  I’m sorry, but that is IRS’s job.  Maybe their could have done a better job of setting assessment criteria, but the fact remains, that IS their job and we should NOT let them be bullied into NOT doing their job.

Here’s what Karen Middleton, President-Emerge America, had to say:

“Emerge America and its initial state programs were granted 501(c)(4) status by the IRS several years ago. Later, when a new state program applied for the same status, it was denied because Emerge works only with women who are in the Democratic Party, so the IRS determined this did not meet the definition of “social welfare” for the common good. We believed this denial triggered a review of the Emerge programs that had already been granted c4 status, and consequently those statuses were revoked. Becoming 527 organizations has not hurt our fundraising or organizational expansion – we report our donors and continue our work fully transparently.”

Emerge Nevada’s 2013 Woman of the Year Event – another great success!

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Anti-Government ‘Patriot’ Groups Ramp Up Again

We live in frightening times.

— by Mark Potok, Southern Poverty Law Center

It’s déjà vu all over again.

Twenty years ago, the passage of the Brady gun control bill helped ignite the first wave of the “Patriot” movement, a combustible mix of gun-toting militias and baseless conspiracy theories about government perfidy that culminated in the 1995 mass murder of 168 people in an Oklahoma City federal building.

As this year began, the first serious talk of gun control since the early 1990s, a reaction to the slaying of 26 people in a Connecticut elementary school, set off a comparable furor. Along with enraged howls from the radical right, even some more or less in the political mainstream, like ConservativeDaily.com’s Tony Adkins, took a page from the Patriot movement as they warned that “martial law” and “suspension of the U.S. constitution” could be coming at any moment.

Patriot leaders like Chuck Baldwin vowed to refuse to register or surrender their weapons, calling on other pastors to do likewise. The Oath Keepers, a Patriot group composed of present and former members of law enforcement and the military, said its people would never succumb to such “unconstitutional filth.” Other Patriots warnesd furiously of secession, nullification, even civil war.

We live in frightening times.

Before the first wave of the Patriot movement died down at the end of the 1990s, law enforcement officials had broken up scores of terrorist plots aimed at the government and others. Now, after four years of a major Patriot resurgence, it seems likely that the movement and its violence will spurt ahead yet again, driven, as it was in the 1990s, in large part by hatred of gun control. The other powerful drivers of the movement have been the re-election of President Barack Obama — who, like Bill Clinton in the early 1990s, is seen as a liberal traitor — and the sorry economy.

The movement’s resurgence since 2008, when there were just 149 Patriot organizations, has been dramatic. As the Southern Poverty Law Center reported this week, that number reached an astounding 1,360 groups in 2012, a rise of 813 percent in four years. At the same time, the number of hate groups remained above 1,000, as it has since 2010.

Patriot groups are now working overtime to stoke the political flames.     Richard Mack was an iconic hero of the Patriot movement in the 1990s, when he was an Arizona sheriff who sued the Clinton administration and won, triggering a weakening of the Brady Bill’s background checks for gun buyers. Now, Mack is back as head of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, and he says that of 200 sheriffs he met with recently, most “have said they would lay down their lives first rather than allow any more federal control.”

Once again, the threat of violence seems to be looming. Already, to the surprise of some analysts, a major new study of domestic political violence from the radical right — “Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right,” by the director of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point — found that right-wing violence is up by a factor of four from the 1990s.

Eighteen years ago, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote then-Attorney General Janet Reno to warn about extremists in the militia movement, saying that the “mixture of armed groups and those who hate” was “a recipe for disaster.” Just six months later, the Oklahoma City federal building was bombed.

Today, with our country’s political polarization at historic levels and government officials being furiously demonized by Patriots, we may be approaching a comparable moment.

In the 1990s, warnings that might have prevented some of the violence from the radical right failed to stick. Now, as we face another large and growing threat from the extremists of the Patriot movement, the country needs to do better. One important start would be to demand that the Department of Homeland Security, which gutted its non-Islamic domestic terrorism unit after unjustified criticism from the political right, rebuild its important intelligence capabilities.


Mark Potok is a Senior Fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the author of its new report on the rise of right-wing extremist groups. SPLCenter.org   Distributed via OtherWords. OtherWords.org