Home Homeland Security Homeland Security Targets Tea Party?

Homeland Security Targets Tea Party?

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By Peter J. Reilly, Forbes
Special to In Homeland Security

Conspiracy theories and paranoia are great for team building. So the exempt organization group of the IRS, the Cincinnati gang that couldn’t sort straight, has given the Tea Party a great boost. When you think about how miserable the IRS can make your life, having your exempt application stalled doesn’t strike me as being that severe. One of the comments I’m having trouble figuring out is from this story

Debbie Dooley of Tea Party Patriots said in Atlanta her group spent some $250,000 on legal fees in battling with the IRS, which she said wanted donor and volunteer names and copies of Facebook comments.

A quarter of million seems like quite a bit of attorney fees for a grass roots organization. As we like to say sometimes, those guys know how to bill. From the website of Tea Party Patriots, I learned

Tea Party Patriots is made up of, and funded by, millions of regular Americans just like you, who believe there is a better way forward for America. We are a non-profit 501(c)(4) organization that does not support any political party nor do we endorse candidates. If you support fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free market economic policies, we encourage you to sign up for Tea Party Patriots today.

It doesn’t have to endorse candidates. That is what the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, a political action committee is for.

The Tea Party Patriots Citizen Fund is dedicated to supporting those candidates who will sincerely work to rein in out-of-control government and to oppose those candidates who will not. We do not discriminate between political parties. We will not shy away from standing up to long-time career politicians.

Both groups have REIN IN THE IRS RALLIES banners at the top of their websites. I couldn’t find the Tea Party Patriot’s 990 on guidestar.org.

According to the summary financial data on file with the Colorado Secretary of State, Tea Party Patriots, Inc does not, itself, appear to be modeling the fiscal responsibility that it encourages the nation to adopt. In the fiscal year ended 5/31/2012, it spent $17,660,824. Of that $5,903,210 went to program service. It’s fundraising cost was 46% of contributions. Of course, we get to see how well private enterprises sometimes works. According to this “campaign report“, they contracted with MDS Communications Corporation (The Nation’s Top Performing Telephone Fundraising Company)to run a campaign that went from 10/28/2010 to 8/19/2011. The campaign raised $1,197,675 at a cost of just $1,143,880, a whopping 4.49% return. Another campaign run by Capitol Resources, Inc raised $618,556 at a cost of $429,571, a more respectable 30.55% yield.

The Tea Patriots Citizens Fund is new. It did its initial filing on January 23, 2013. (Full disclosure, that happens to be my birthday).

I find it hard, without spending more time than I care to, to make a determination of how grassroots Tea Party Patriots, Inc. is. Apparently, they can get people out in the street. Rein In The IRS were held in over 100 locations. Of course the demonstrations, themselves, are adding new paranoia from stories like this

There were multiple reported sightings of agents with the Department of Homeland Security at several Tea Party-led IRS protests in states like Missouri, Florida, Illinois and Indiana. The rallies that occurred across the country on Tuesday were sparked by the IRS’ unfair targeting of conservative groups — one of the several scandals the Obama administration is dealing with.

I hate to rain on a nice conspiracy theory, but here is something to give you a little perspective on that

The Federal Protective Service (FPS) is charged with protecting thousands of Federal facilities and safeguarding millions of Federal employees, contractors, and civilian visitors. FPS provides superior law enforcement and protective security services by leveraging intelligence and information from federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector partners.

Every day FPS protects the homeland by managing risk and ensuring continuity for one of the most crucial elements of our national critical infrastructure –our nation’s Federal Facilities and their occupants.

I don’t know why it is that the federal government has a wide variety of specialized law enforcement people, but it does. The ones whose job it is to protect federal buildings and the people who work in them are part of the Department of Homeland Security. You start having crowds form outside federal buildings, it is their job to see what is going on. The evidence that they are picking on the right is rather slim, since earlier this week they arrested over twenty people from a variety of groups loosely identified with Occupy Wall Street, who started an encampment in front of the Justice Department. A couple of them were zapped with tasers. They didn’t have a real serious concern like having the paperwork for their tax-exempt status hung up. They were merely worried about losing homes in the foreclosure crisis. I doubt FPS is picking on the left though. Probably, the Occupy people engaged in some actual civil disobedience to make their point.

You can follow me on twitter @peterreillycpa.

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