Filing for tax-exempt
Waco, TX — Michael Simon is the co-founder of the Waco Tea Party. After a successful rally of 3,000 locals, the group decided to incorporate in 2009.
“We wanted to go about doing things the correct and legal way so we decided to apply for 501c4 status," said Simon.
The application would make the organization tax-exempt.
The process was supposed to take roughly two months. After nearly three years of waiting, the IRS sent them a letter back, in the height of the 2012 election cycle, to probe for more information.
“The packet starts out with this basic, formal letter they send out. But then you have these pages and pages of questions," said Simon.
Simon said he felt singled-out from the very beginning.
“Its been a situation that we were aware of We felt targeted when these letters started to come through in February of 2012.”
Ralph Patterson is Chairman of the McLennan County Republican Party. He’s seen firsthand what the Tea Party’s been going though these past few years.
“They can ruin your life. The Internal Revenue Service, if they decide you’re a target, can ruin your life," said Patterson.
The question isn't whether or whether not the IRS was actually targeting groups like the Tea Party. They actually admitted to it on Friday. But now government officials from both sides of the isle are asking who is responsible? Whose idea was this?
And if you think this has nothing to do with you, think again.
“Regardless of who you are. Regardless of who the current administration is. Regardless of who is in control of congress or who is appointed to what board in the IRS, this is pertinent for every single American," said Simon. "What if your beliefs don’t match up with who is in office at the time?”
“To be attacked for simply standing up for what you believe is the right thing- it should be chilling for everyone in the country. If you are not part of the people doing this, it ought to make you think, “What keeps you from being next?”