Thursday, 25 April 2024

Conservative Group Says Its Existence Is Threatened By IRS Targeting Of Conservative Organization


The Internal Revenue Service building is seen in Washington, DC, in February 2, 2024.(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

The conservative David Horowitz Freedom Center has weathered a barrage of attacks from a number of institutions, from the Southern Poverty Law Center to credit card giants Visa and Mastercard, but it now believes its very existence is threatened by what it says is a politically-motivated probe by the Internal Revenue Service.

The California-based non-profit has been advocating for conservative values since its founding in 1988. Its non-profit status, however, could be eliminated by a pending judgment from the Internal Revenue Service, which claims that the organization engaged in electioneering. The Center disputes the claim, and says the investigation into its work comes only because the IRS is weaponized against conservatives.

Daniel Greenfield, a Vice President of the Freedom Center, says the IRS has taken issue with articles the Freedom Center wrote about Hillary Clinton and Trump in 2016.

“The basis for the investigation is that we’ve been covering the election,” Greenfield explained to The Daily Wire. “Leftist nonprofits are actually engaged in straight up electioneering. They register voters. They fund litigation, they’re engaged in protest. All we did was engage in journalism.”

The IRS complaint, which began in 2019, hinges on the claim that the Freedom Center engaged in electioneering. The IRS allegation specifically highlighted journalistic work from the Freedom Center, which claimed “that Hillary Clinton had violated U.S. espionage laws and obstructed justice by destroying 30,000 emails subpoenaed by the United States Congress.”

“The key rule we were alleged to have violated was to have participated in a political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office,” an article from David Horowitz explains, before pointing out that the Freedom Center has never endorsed a candidate nor involved itself in any campaign.

The Freedom Center maintains that the IRS investigation is politically motivated, and Greenfield believes it’s “no coincidence that this is happening right before an election.”

Greenfield explained that the IRS complaint is the latest, and most serious, in a series of attacks against the Freedom Center. Color of Change, a now-defunct non-profit established by Van Jones, waged a campaign called “Blood Money” against the Freedom Center in an attempt to get the organization de-banked by Visa and Mastercard.

The campaign, which came after the leftwing Southern Poverty Law Center listed the Freedom Center as a hate group, resulted in Mastercard briefly refusing to process payments to the organization. Then, after a series of articles from The Washington Post calling for the Freedom Center to lose its non-profit status, the IRS launched its complaint in 2019.

Now that complaint threatens to destroy the organization entirely. “We’re looking at $600,000 in legal fees and we’re a pretty small organization that employs very few people,” Greenfield explained.

While the Freedom Center maintains that it and other organizations have been politically targeted by the IRS, it also asserts that leftist organizations that appear to engage in genuine electioneering get let off the hook.

Investigations by the Freedom Center’s publication, Front Page Magazine, point to organizations like ProGeorgia, which boasted that it conducted “31,000 face-to-face conversations, 10 million texts, and 133,000 phone conversations” and registered “tens of thousands for the midterm election” so that “voters of color turned out in early voting at higher levels than their white counterparts.” There’s also Black Votes Matter, which partnered with the SPLC to drive voter turnout in the Peach State.

Black Votes Matter head LaTosha Brown bragged that “Georgia voters practically handed victories to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris with a historic election outcome.”

While leftist organizations influence elections and boast of the results, the Freedom Center says that its case is just the latest instance of the IRS being weaponized against conservatives.

The IRS has previously admitted to mistreating conservative organizations, many of which were associated with the Tea Party movement, by applying “heightened scrutiny and inordinate delays” when handling tax exempt status requests.

“I’d like to say we’re a unique target,” Greenfield said. “We’re not a unique target. There’s a larger phenomenon going on here.”

Now the Freedom Center is at risk of dissolution as a result of the IRS’s actions. Greenfield noted that the organization expects to receive a final judgment from the IRS in the coming months, bringing the situation to a decisive crossroads.

“At that point we face a choice between fighting them directly in court or just closing up shop, and we’re an organization with a lot of history,” he said. “We’ve been around for decades. Other people in the conservative movement have come through us one way or another.”


Source link