“Out-of-control government” Still Hitting Wisconsin Conservatives



marv-munyon

WORN OUT: Marvin Munyon, of the Rock River Patriots, a southern Wisconsin tea party group, said he grew weary of what he says was the “intimidation and threatening” behavior of the IRS in the battle for his nonprofit conservative group’s tax-exempt status.

(Watchdog.org) Madison, WI – If you think the Internal Revenue Service’s persecution of conservative organizations has faded into an “inappropriate” past, the folks from the Rock River Patriots would like to set the record straight.

“We are being totally overrun by an out-of-control government,” said Marvin Munyon, a director of the southern Wisconsin tea party group.

The Rock River Patriots, like so many other limited-government organizations applying for tax-exempt status, was given the administrative runaround for more than a year before Munyon, exasperated and “threatened,” threw up his hands and dropped the group’s pursuit of 501(c)(4) status.

Not only has the revenue agency demanded the small, grassroots organization pay hundreds of dollars in taxes owed while the Rock River Patriots worked through the onerous tax-exempt application process, the IRS is charging nearly as much in late payment fees, penalties and interest.

Munyon said the group has no problem paying the $475 in taxes it owes as a taxable entity, for 2011 and 2012. They don’t mind picking up the $26 and change in interest owed on the back taxes. But the Patriots, which Munyon asserts the IRS originally targeted because of its tea party-sounding name, does take exception to the $300 plus in so-called “failure to file” fees and “failure to pay” penalties the IRS insists on assessing.

The Rock River Patriots were caught in an administrative Catch-22, as is so often the case at the IRS. Munyon in April 2012 applied for 501(c)(4) designation for the group, as a pending tax-exempt organization. The IRS cashed the group’s $400 application fee on May 2, 2012, according to documents.

Munyon was informed by letter in January 2013 that the IRS was delayed in reviewing applications for tax-exempt status, all the while the meter was running on the conservative organization’s tab with the IRS.

“It’s a terrible cat-and-mouse game,” Munyon said. “It gets almost overwhelming. It’s hard for me to keep it all straight,” he said of the voluminous correspondence, forms and hours upon hours of phone calls Munyon has dealt with during the past couple of years.

The IRS did offer a deal, Munyon said — an offer the limited-government advocate had to refuse.

An IRS agent in Ogden, Utah, informed Munyon that if he could pledge that the Rock River Patriots never violated an election law in the past, were not violating any such laws at present and would never do so in the future, the IRS would guarantee the group a favorable ruling on its tax-exempt status within two weeks.

“I said, ‘If you have not been able to grant us a favorable status in two years, how could you grant it to us in two weeks?’” Munyon said.  “Their comeback was that they ‘didn’t call to argue. We called you to help you.’”

Munyon said he didn’t want that kind of help from an agency now notorious for targeting conservative groups, flagging and delaying limited government nonprofits applying for tax-exempt status. Munyon, the leader of a small organization with limited resources, didn’t want to sign a document that could unwittingly land him in jail on perjury charges.

He said doesn’t believe the Rock River Patriots have ever done anything outside of the requirements of a tax-exempt status, but he has no idea what activities the government — particularly a federal government led by a liberal president — might deem unacceptable.

More galling, the IRS won’t give the group back its $400 tax-exempt application fee.

“One lady just laughed at me. She said, ‘You ought to know by now we don’t send any money back to anybody,’” Munyon said.

Exhausted, Munyon bowed to the mounting administrative pressure and what he considered to be IRS threats, ending the Rock River Patriot’s pursuit of tax-exempt status.

Conservative critics of the IRS say that is the outcome the agency seeks as it moves to change the rules on 501(c)(4) designations. In the guise of limiting politics in such groups, the IRS has triggered a political firestorm. Small organization leaders like Munyon say they know what it feels like to get burned.

“You can call it what you like but you are at their mercy,” he said of the IRS.

A representative from the Internal Revenue Service declined to comment on Munyon’s claims, saying the agency is strictly prohibited from talking about individual tax cases.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s proposed rule changes target “social welfare” organizations such as Americans for Prosperity on the right and the League of Conservation Voters on the left. The language ostensibly would allow the agency to go after political advocacy and anonymous donations, but critics say it would principally attack free speech.

Gene-Policinski

TROUBLED SPEECH: First Amendment expert Gene Policinski worries about the “inherent problem of government to limit speech,” as could be the case with the Internal Revenue Service’s proposed rules on certain tax-exempt groups.

Gene Policinski, chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute and senior vice president of the First Amendment Center, said the proposal creates more questions than answers. He gets that transparency is critical to an informed electorate, but should it come at the expense of basic First Amendment rights?

“Moving too far in any direction impinges on fundamental rights, like freedom to petition the government and free speech. I hope in all of these discussions we keep those rights in the forefront,”   Policinski said.

“Ultimately, as we so often do, we may have to deal with as close as you can get. But the First Amendment’s 45 words don’t say ‘as close as you can get,’” he added.

The proposal is in the public comment phase.

Make no mistake about it, conservatives see a political speech war in the offing.

“We are all going to spend a tremendous amount of time and energy fighting back against this.” Dan Backer, an Alexandria lawyer specializing in election law who represents many nonprofit groups on the right, recently told the Washington Post.

“The IRS is approaching this as, ‘We are giving you the right to speak and you are going to speak within the confines we tell you,’ ” Backer said. “And that’s wrong. This whole effort is simply a way to empower government to regulate speech.”

In Wisconsin, outside of the IRS’ push to change the rules but within what critics see as an overarching assault on the First Amendment, a Democrat-led secret investigation into conservative organizations has been billed as the “Wisconsin political speech raid” by the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board.

In that case, the so-called John Doe investigation has subpoenaed more than 100 conservative and free-market activists in a wide-ranging search for signs of illegal campaign coordination, sources have told Wisconsin Reporter.  Though gagged by provisions of the subpoenas, several sources have told Wisconsin Reporter the manifold legal attack on nonprofit political organizations has included pre-dawn raids on homes and offices; confiscated equipment and files; and demands for phone, email and other records.

Munyon said he sees things only getting worse for conservatives if the IRS’ proposals go through.

“A few years back they said the IRS was becoming more friendly. I certainly haven’t found that to be true where I’ve worked with them,” he said.  “They are intimidating and threatening.”

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  • tom2

    I’d bet any well-designed survey of taxpayers would find a huge majority who favor a new system of revenue generation. The one we now have has become little more than administrative muscle that forces its will regardless of popular preference. Ironically, it would affirm the feeling that we’ve been TEA.

  • Tony4516

    This shows when the IRS gets caught, they simply apologize and continue carrying out their agenda, with the blessing of the White House.

  • Jerry Person

    vvScott Walker remembers creating jobs as assemblyman in Wisconsin . It was easy with ALEC. 32000 UNION public sector jobs. It is not as easy this time with out using your tax dollars. Scott Walker has created ALL Wisconsin`s budget problems working for ALEC. In 1997 Walker and Prosser as state assemblymen championed for ALEC with truth in sentencing telling the legislatures it would not cost a dime it was to give judges not parole boards the control over sentencing. Then Walker filibustered to stop sentencing changes after the fact misleading ALL the legislatures. With out the sentencing changes Wisconsin`s prisons quadrupled over night. Most people sentenced to 2 years now had to serve as much as 6o years. As the Wisconsin Budget watch Blog shows . Stopping just a percentage of these long sentences Wisconsin would save 707 million per year. Wisconsin could have free tuition colleges. It shows Wisconsin has wasted 100 billion if you add the numbers to the state budget since 1997. Not including the building new or remodeling of 71 courthouses & 71 county jails & 441 police stations and dozens of prisons 28 billion plus interest. The total is over 28 BILLION plus the 60 Billion spent by social services to support prisoners families because the bread winner was a political prisoner as US Att gen Eric Holder explained. Then farming out prisoners in several states until the courts realized it was not allowed in the Wisconsin constitution. Wisconsin then hired 32000 union public sector workers to fill the jobs housing the prisoners from deputies , judges, district attorneys all owe Walker for creating there jobs. 32000 UNION PUBLIC SECTOR JOBS. This cost taxpayers over 3.8 billion or a half million per day to house these EXTRA prisoners per day in Milwaukee county alone. Wisconsin claims it has 24,000 prisoners compared to Minnesota`s 5500. Wisconsin`s corrections population is 104,000 with many in half way house and county jails and county prisons that are not counted. . In 1995 Milwakee county had less than 200 prisoners now it has thousands. Is Scott Walker moving Wisconsin forward ? This your reason for budget problems in Wisconsin. Big spender big government Scott Walker. Why does he not work for the people he is taking his check from the people ? Walker is a ALEC man. ALEC has no place in any democracy.

    Wisconsin Budget watch blog has a great article on this subject.

    • Rebecca

      Earth to Jerry…..Do you know how to read? This story is about Marvin Munyon….Any comments on this article?

      • Jerry Person

        This is some of the damage of the Tea Party creators ALEC and the Kochs. he has been around when tommy T was in the prison business thanks to Tommy t, walker and Prosser all working for ALEC back in the 1990`s These people have already scammed billions from the Wisconsin taxpayers since 1997.

      • Rebecca

        Reread what you have just written, and see if it makes any sense to you.

      • Jerry Person

        The Tea party was created by david Koch just like over 650 right wing groups he pays the way for. Alec is one of them so they are all the same people that have been around for decades. this guy was a republican who supported tommy t and the truth in sentencing I am sure. They have created a police state and have cost billions . Look at my post on walkers job creation.

      • Rebecca

        So this guy is Alec, not the Rock River Patriots, and he is part of a right wing cabal headed by the Koch brothers in order to take away the rights of the union people and Socialists of America, the only true American patriots?

      • Jerry Person

        The Tea Party movement’s dirty little secret is that its chief financial backers owe their family fortune to the granddaddy of all their hatred: Stalin’s godless empire of the USSR. The secretive oil billionaires of the Koch family, the main supporters of the right-wing groups that orchestrated the Tea Party movement, would not have the means to bankroll their favorite causes had it not been for the pile of money the family made working for the Bolsheviks in the late 1920s and early 1930s, building refineries, training Communist engineers and laying down the foundation of Soviet oil infrastructure.

        The comrades were good to the Kochs

      • Rebecca

        So, the Tea Party is a communist plot, not a right wing cabal. Hmmm….I am now reading a book “The Communist,” by Paul Kengor, and it has quite a lot on the connections between Russia and America in the 20s and 30s, but no mention of the Koch brothers or their family. Those Bolsheviks murdered thousands, even millions of Christians in Europe and kept records of it. That’s in the book.

      • Jerry Person

        80% of Americans know this. fox has made thousands of village idiots in America. look at how Prescott Bush and Herbert Walker financed Germany from 1930 to 1943 as the Hoover files revealed. I posted how the kochs got there moneys. It is obvious the republican kingpins like Koch, Bush one bush two and even grandpa and many others have been pals with all the bad guys like sadam, AL Quita, Hitler, stalin, Noriaga and many others. I do not read about communism. I live in America . websters says it best. : To change what is norm for personal, political or religious reasons is an act of perversion. Now that explains American republicans. KKK/KGB/GOP/Nazi explains Kochs Russian tea party.

      • Rebecca

        O.K., What about the Democrats? Kyrsten Sinema a congressperson from Arizona is a communist, but ran as a Democrat. DeBlasio(sp?) just elected in New York city is a socialist. Many other Democrats say they are socialists, and a couple say they are communist. The Congressional Quarterly, out of Washington, wrote a book a while back about Marxism in politics in our country, and they were not talking about Republicans. If you get on socialist and communist websites, they are against Republicans and for Democrats. How do you explain that?

      • Jerry Person

        Your making an opinion. I am posting document facts. Would or could an American consider anything that would suppress the vote ? Would or could an American consider taking civil rights like fee speech away ? Would or could a American consider taking liberty away from anyone ? Would or could a American, consider taking justice away from anyone ? Would or could an American consider taking healthcare away from another American ? Would or could a good honest America Christian take any of the above away from any American or anyone ? These are all things Scott Walker took from Wisconsin.

      • Rebecca

        You are not making any sense. “I am posting document facts.” Huh?

      • Jerry Person

        Please have some one explain

      • Jerry Person

        So communist are real Christians too ? Educate me about your home land. I m admit I do not know much. I do know Koch was a great American hero in Russia. and there are things named for fred Koch. Translate Koch in Russian.

      • Rebecca

        Is English a second language for you? Read what I said. Mull it over. Then reply.

      • Jerry Person

        You should read about Bush family and the Koch family. then watch the movie on you tube JFK2. This will explain the Bush clan. You will see why no one can say religion and Koch or bush in the same sentence with out waking up the dead.

      • Rebecca

        Maybe they are all playing footsies with the Left.