Dear Marriage Supporter,
The road to tyranny is paved with incidents like this.
Private Citizen Harassed for Her Political Writings
For Prof. Anne Hendershott, the phone call to her home from the IRS came out of the blue in May 2010:
"The IRS calls my house and says ... 'I just wanted to let you know that we're going to be auditing your business' and I said 'My businesses?' and he said, 'You know the expenses you take off for writing."
Prof. Hendershott is a sociologist and a fierce Catholic critic of what she calls "fake" Catholic, Soros-funded groups supporting pro-abortion Pres. Obama and Obamacare's mandates on Catholic groups.
Prof. Hendershott made very little money publishing a few pieces a year for places ranging from the Wall Street Journal to the Catholic Advocate.
But the IRS demanded she come to New Haven, Connecticut without her husband, met with her, and grilled her about every check she had deposited, demanding to know irrelevant questions like what kind of groups the money came from, etc.
The chilling effect of any abuse of the IRS' power, terrifying to millions of ordinary American taxpayers, is very real. The tactic worked:
"I haven't written for them since the audit, because I was so scared," she said.
This is what tyranny feels like.
NOM's Smoking Gun in IRS-Gate
The National Organization for Marriage has been a prime target of IRS abuse; I began with Prof. Hendershott's story to tell you the enormous consequences to liberty and democracy that will happen if we do not stand up and fight back.
This week we learned we are not alone: what happened to marriage supporters is one part of a larger pattern of abuse of government power to undermine democracy in America.
The latest news: the IRS systematically abuses its power to help one party win an election.
But what the IRS tried to do to you and to every marriage supporter in America through this attack on NOM is a key, and horrific, escalation in the abuse of government power, corrupting democracy and undermining the basic human right to participate in the public square:
In USA Today NOM's Chairman Prof. John Eastman asks the key question: "How did tax returns of a group opposed to gay marriage get leaked to political opponents?
Our case was particularly egregious because the IRS leak of confidential information fed directly into an ongoing political battle. For months before March 2012, the pro-gay marriage HRC had been demanding that my group, NOM, publicly identify its major donors, something that NOM and many other non-profits refuse to do. The reason is simple. In the past, gay marriage advocates have used such information to launch campaigns of intimidation against traditional marriage supporters.
Just as gay marriage proponents were demanding the information, the IRS appears to have illegally given them exactly what they were looking for.
For the IRS to leak any organization's tax return to its political opponents is an outrageous breach of ethics and, if proven, constitutes a felony.. .. But the situation here is even more egregious because the head of the HRC was at the time serving as a national co-chair of President Obama's re-election campaign.
The release of NOM's legally protected tax forms was a conscious act to reward a prominent Obama supporter while punishing an opponent.
When we went to the IRS to complain, we were promised a full investigation. And yet last year the IRS told us the case was "concluded" with no further information given. But then, in response to our latest of three Freedom of Information Act requests, the IRS replied that it could not disclose any information relating to a criminal investigation.
"It's just Orwellian," as Prof. Eastman told The Washington Times.
The story that the IRS leaked confidential info to NOM's political opponents and that Pres. Obama's co-chair then made use of the information, made the top of the Drudge Report, Politico, The Hill, FoxNews, Breitbart.com, and many, many other top news outlets.
Rush Limbaugh also took notice:
I don't quite know how to characterize it. This is Soviet-style banana republic stuff; it's a combo of Soviet-style statism, thuggism, and banana republic. The law doesn't matter — all that matters is advancing the cause and defeating the enemies of the cause, no matter what you have to do. . . . Law says you can't share information, we'll find a way to do it.
Listen to the full Rush segment here.
IRS agents acted like the law doesn't matter. Decency doesn't matter. Diversity doesn't matter. The rights of your fellow citizens, friends, neighbors and family to participate in democracy—even if they disagree with you—doesn't matter. All that matters is getting to your enemies and shutting them down any way.
A piece published this week in the prestigious The Atlantic, coauthored by David Montez of GLAAD (a major gay advocacy organization), openly laid out their goals for America, their vision of America: a place where your views never get heard: "But even today, anti-LGBT activists, who continue to wrongfully state that gay people are unfit to be parents, have a platform in the media to spread their lies. We have a long way to go before groups like the National Organization for Marriage are no longer routinely invited to provide 'balance' on national cable news programs."
(Note how they transform the idea that children ideally need a mom and dad, to the idea that gay people are "unfit" — not what we say of course — but the truth is not relevant to a determined, aggressive campaign designed to silence your opponents and treat them as bigots.)
I want to thank those Democrats in particular, some of whom may even support gay marriage, for standing up for basic decency against the abuse of government power. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, ranking Democrat of the House Oversight Committee, is one such politician who, in talking to the press about the unfolding IRS scandals, called the news "one of the most alarming things that I have ever seen."
"I think laws were probably broken, but at the least there have been some improper actions on the part of the IRS," he said.
At the very least!
How We Fight Back Against Tyranny
Pres. Obama has promised he will get to the bottom of these IRS abuses, but the proof lies in the pudding and at this point we aren't going to sit back and trust, we are going to demand action to protect your right to participate in democracy on an equal basis.
Again, we are not going to take this lying down. WE are not going to lose our democracy—and your rights—without a fight!
First, this week NOM called for Congressional hearings (and launched a brand new online petition where you can join this call.) The IRS not only harassed conservative groups, it went so far as to release confidential and sensitive information to their liberal opponents in a presidential election year.
As I told The Washington Times "Only the unique powers of Congress to subpoena, question and investigate will help us expose the truth about how the pro-gay Human Rights Campaign (HRC) came into possession of a nonpublic tax document that NOM had to file with the IRS."
Second, this week, I announced NOM is filing a lawsuit against the IRS over the illegal theft of NOM's confidential tax return from 2008 and its subsequent leak to the Human Rights Campaign, one of our principal political opponents:
Not only has the IRS retaliated against conservative, small-government and tea party groups as they apply for recognition of tax exemption AND lied about it, but it has criminally released our confidential tax return including the identity of dozens of major donors to a political enemy.
In addition to being our principal combatant in the war on traditional marriage, the HRC's president at the time was serving as a Co-Chair of President Obama's reelection campaign. This is a chilling set of circumstances that should ring alarm bells across the nation.
NOM has retained ActRight Legal Foundation to file the lawsuit in federal district court in the District of Columbia. We encourage any other individuals or nonprofits who experienced similar IRS abuses to contact ActRight Legal Foundation.
"The very core of our ordered society has been shaken by this political roughing-up of nonprofits by the IRS" says NOM's Chairman, Dr. John C. Eastman. "As a constitutional law scholar I can tell you that no nonprofit should ever have to experience this kind of retaliation."
Today the news broke that the IRS demanded in writing, that a prolife group promise not to picket Planned Parenthood, in order to receive tax-exempt status.
This is serious my friends, our democracy is at risk. Unless we stand shoulder-to-shoulder and fight back, the campaign to silence traditional points of view will move on to the next phase—silencing the people who hold these views and pushing them out of the public eye completely, into the shadows.
If you know of a tax exempt organization that has been attacked or harassed by the IRS, please ask them to contact us or ActRight Legal Foundation. Please pray for all those on the front lines fighting for marriage, for democracy, and for what is right.
If you can, consider giving a major gift to NOM as our legal and other expenses mount. $100 each month if you are able; or a one-time gift of $500 or $1,000 if God has blessed you and your family in this great country of ours.
Let me close with two reminders: tomorrow, Friday May 17th at 12PM there will be nationwide rallies to support the Boy Scouts' rights. Find out more from John Stemberger at www.OnMyHonor.net.
Also, if you live near San Diego or can make plans to travel there, please consider attending and supporting the Ruth Institute's first ever Gala and Live Auction on June 2nd—you won't want to miss it!
Thank you again for your courage and your decency. Together we will stand for God's truth about marriage and save our great country.