May 16th, 2013
11:35 AM ET
11 months ago

After IRS targeting, tea party says their fears confirmed

Washington (CNN) – After some of their political groups were targeted for extra scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service, members of the tea party say they feel a new justification for their claims of government overreach and big government.

Speaking at a rally on Capitol Hill Thursday, Rep. Michele Bachmann said the IRS's actions – which resulted in the resignation of the acting commissioner of the agency – could reflect a greater undercurrent of political misdeeds being carried out by the federal government. She specifically cited the president's health care law as a measure rife with opportunities to play political games.

"Knowing it's the IRS who will be the enforcing mechanism for this new entitlement program of Obamacare, it is very important to ask – and now it is reasonable to ask – could there be potential political implications of access to healthcare, denial of healthcare? Will that happen based upon a person's political beliefs, or their religiously held beliefs?" asked Bachmann at the rally, which was attended by senators and representatives who were elected to office with support of tea party groups.

"Those questions would have been considered out of bounds a week ago," continued the Minnesota Republican and 2012 candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, who herself worked at the IRS as an attorney at the beginning of her career. "Today these questions are considered more than reasonable, and more than fair for the American people.

Tea party groups have long been wary of the president's health care law, and Republicans in Congress will vote for the thirty-seventh time to repeal the measure on Thursday.

The groups have also been skeptical of government overreach into the personal lives of citizens, a fact lawmakers at Thursday's rally linked to the Justice Department seizure of phone records from reporters and editors at the Associated Press.

Those revelations coincided with renewed interest in September's attack at an American diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya – long a rallying cry for tea party members who use it to claim incompetence and deception from Obama's national security team.

Combined, the events of the last several days appeared to confirm in the minds of tea party Republicans their longstanding sense the government is working against them.

"The three events of the last few days – the IRS, the AP, and Benghazi – tend to confirm our worst fears about our government," Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said at Thursday's rally. "They tend to tell us what we don't want to believe, but what sometimes turns out to be true. That your government is targeting you. That your government is spying on you. And that your government is lying to you."

At least one lawmaker, Bachmann, even floated the notion of impeachment during the event, saying what happened at the IRS was a scandal worse than Watergate, the criminal incident that brought down President Richard Nixon.

"As I have been home in my district, in the sixth district of Minnesota, there hasn't been a weekend that's gone by without someone saying, 'Michelle, what in the world are you all waiting for in Congress. Why aren't you impeaching the president. He's been making unconstitutional actions since he's been in Congress,'" she said.

Obama's response to the mess – including demanding the resignation of acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller – has only scratched the surface, said Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

"Someone needs to be held responsible. Someone needs to be imprisoned. Someone needs to be prosecuted," said Paul, who won election with tea party support in 2010 and has said he's eyeing a run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. "The resignation is a step in the right direction, but we need to find out who wrote this policy, who approved this policy, and they need to be held accountable."

Bachmann, citing reports Miller has planned to step down in June anyway, described the resignation as a "canard" meant to allay citizens' fears without truly addressing the problem.

"Yesterday the president engaged in damage control 101," she said. "He wanted to stop the story because the president's had a no good, very bad week this last week."


Filed under: Michele Bachmann • Tea Party
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Ms. Factually Challenged Bachmann really needs to be voted out. Here we go again with the 37th vote to repeal the ACA. Give it up already! I'm still baffled how these Teatard organizations are eligible for 501(c)4 status when they're clearly political.

    May 16, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. jpmichigan

    I hope there is investigation INCLUDING ALL DEMOCRATS on the Hill who wrote, e-mailed or called the IRS to investigate tea party organizations after the 2010 elections. Only then will be the American people know the truth. You see how the chicken have come home to the White House with Benghazi, there will be more.

    May 16, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. MTATL67

    This does not justify their paranoia. It feeds it but does not justify it. What the IRS did may have been wrong but it does not change the fact that these groups are extremist and a danger to the country.

    May 16, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  4. Gurgyl

    IRS did excellent by doing Tax-cheats caught.

    May 16, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. Pete

    Hey Bachmann show us how the tea party of which you're a member is a social welfare organization and how it benefits the community without political involvement,tell me wrong and why!!Tell me what benefits like your husbands state funded clinics do in these tea party groups in giving communities again benefits, please again explain..Churches you and your husband ms Bachmann belong to are 501(c4) tax exempt status but they'll lose it if they are caught endorsing or helping a candidate of any political party and you ignorently know it..So to you and all people related to or trying to go exempt be carefull because the IRS won't be lienient on you if your caught,but from me who cares if you are you deserve it !!

    May 16, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Fire the GOP

    There should be MORE scrutiny of political organizations that try to claim tax-exempt status. Especially at a time when they are whining about the soaring debt!

    May 16, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. AbrahamLincoln

    I certainly have no problem with what the IRS did.
    Most Americans don't care.

    May 16, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  8. Joi Gibson

    Oh cry me a river. While what the IRS did is wrong, some in Congress have had no problem asking the IRS to look into a certain group(s) when said group(s) were seeking tax-exempt status. They have no problem with big government telling a woman what she can or cannot do with her own body, telling grown folks who they can marry, and otherwise interfering in people's private lives, but when the table is turned, oh how they moan. They are going to milk this for all it is worth. Be careful not to overplay your hand. Pretty soon, folks will begin to think this is just Republicans playing political games, again, and using this as an excuse not to take carry of other business which requires their immediate attention, oh like for instance, jobs, immigration, those sorts of things. Apparently, they cannot walk and breathe at the same time, it has to be one or the other. This does not show governing, which is what they are supposed to do. Instead of throwing stones from their glass houses, how about working together to ensure things like this do not happen again, for the good of the country.

    May 16, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  9. gbrecke

    I wonder when we'll know what the IRS planned to do with all the bullets they ordered?

    May 16, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  10. Jinx9to88

    Michelle Bachman of all people. haha

    May 16, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. FLIndependent

    The question is – what isn't the Tea Party afraid of?? If the IRS "targeted" certain groups because their names were political in nature then why should they not be investigated further to make sure they were actually eligible for tax exempt status and not just a cover up to get away with paying no taxes. Everyone knows the Tea Party hates taxes so to think they may try to get away with paying none certainly is not a stretch!

    May 16, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  12. Stacia

    Get rid of all the corrupt!!! We need a GOV revamp!! They're out of control! Give gov back to the citizens and remove it from the evil corporate claws!!

    May 16, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  13. William

    The president has had a bad week this week? What about all the people that are struggling to find food for their children because they lost their jobs? What about all the kids that are hungry because their parents can not find work? Don't we think that they are having a bad day? The president has no worries, because he is in charge and control......of ALL of us, and we have no say so!

    May 16, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. Jinx9to88

    Michelle remember you almost lost your election so dont say everyone. I live in Minneapolis and believe me people cannot stand this women. Maybe the people you sit around the dinner table with make comments.

    May 16, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. Jinx9to88

    The IRS targeted progressive groups under Bush, so it goes both ways.

    May 16, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. mcail88

    They are definitely not extremists, and people of morals and people who are doing their best to protect PEOPLE from a reckless government are not a "danger" to anyone but you "tolerant" liberals

    May 16, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Watch, before all is said and done, after all of the investigations to find out which people were directly involved, it is going to come out that it was a pair of formerly registered Republicans who became disgusted with the direction that the party has taken over the past 15 years.

    May 16, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. much thunder..little rain

    and just think only a few day ago the irs was crying about sequestration....

    May 16, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. Chris

    MTATL67

    This does not justify their paranoia. It feeds it but does not justify it. What the IRS did may have been wrong but it does not change the fact that these groups are extremist and a danger to the country.
    _______________________
    How in the world does it not justify it??????? They have been SINGLED out, I am not a huge fan of the extreme parties on either site but facts are facts and they were singled out!!!! Actually, I am not a fan of ANY party, all issues we are having in DC is BECAUSE of the party system we have in the US. All parties should be GONE, a person runs on their values and their ideas ONLY!!! It amazes me the things Liberals will say to justify ILLEGAL acts, as everyone has stated before, it does not matter what Obama does, you would still support him even if he murdered someone! When you let the government do stuff like this you are no longer a FREE country, doesn't matter what party you are affiliated with!!!

    May 16, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. Chris

    AbrahamLincoln

    I certainly have no problem with what the IRS did.
    Most Americans don't care.
    _____________
    You are COMPLETELY wrong!!! MOST DO CARE, you are on a very liberal site and even half the people that comment on this site CARE!!!!! I can not believe some of you justify this, I don't care what organization they are, THIS IS NOT acceptible for the IRS to single out for political reasons no matter the political party!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 16, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. Palin Power

    The IRS has committed sacrilege by taxing the Tea Party. The Tea party is a party of God and should never be taxed like the way the IRS tried to tax them. Taxing the Tea Party is taxing God and nobody taxes God.

    May 16, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  22. Chris

    FLIndependent

    The question is – what isn't the Tea Party afraid of?? If the IRS "targeted" certain groups because their names were political in nature then why should they not be investigated further to make sure they were actually eligible for tax exempt status and not just a cover up to get away with paying no taxes. Everyone knows the Tea Party hates taxes so to think they may try to get away with paying none certainly is not a stretch!
    _______________________

    Agreed IF they did it to BOTH parties and not just one single party!!! Take off the blinder buddy!!!!

    May 16, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  23. Rafi Zavala

    I a Tea Party activist am not a danger to America. Get rid of the income tax and the IRS. Problem fixed. One less worry of a majority attacking the minority using a Bureaucratic agency.

    May 16, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. Thomas

    @mcail88
    They are definitely not extremists, and people of morals and people who are doing their best to protect PEOPLE from a reckless government are not a "danger" to anyone but you "tolerant" liberals.

    =========
    Former House majority leader Dick Armey says he took an $8 million consulting deal in return for leaving the conservative organization FreedomWorks because the group was "dishonest" and because he "couldn't leave with empty pockets."

    The arrangement, he says, will allow him to "never have to work again forever."

    Dick Army / Mark Sanford 2016

    Family Values and Moral Fortitude ?

    When a crook like Dick Armey say's FreedomWorks is "dishonest" , the IRS should go over there books !

    May 16, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. Colorado

    Not one application was denied their "most favored status". These tea party trolls are just upset because they ALMOST had to actually pay taxes and we know they don't want that. They are the takers of this country.

    May 16, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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