Front Page Story with Picture of NEAR Tea Party IRS Protest
Signs can be read in the original picture in paper. One says Religion Under Fire, Crush IRS with a Flat Tax and Fire Ruth Ingram and others. There were 30 there rather than 25 but we should have had 300.) There were other signs as well. I think the importance of these actions is summed up in a letter to the editor by Tom Reeves, the theme being that World War III will be fought with ideas and confronting deception rather than weapons. Excerpts of that article is printed below the story below.
By Keith Inman, Sun Staff Writer
JONESBORO — Brad Tangen says America's political rulers use the Internal Revenue Service as a tool to suppress opposition.
Tangen, acting coordinator of the Northeast Arkansas Tea Party of Jonesboro, was among 25 people who gathered at the Craighead County Courthouse on Wednesday.
They joined the nationwide protest over recent revelations that the IRS subjected tea party and other conservative groups seeking non-profit status to extra scrutiny from 2010 to 2012.
Tangen said it would be best to abolish the tax-collecting agency.
“It's been used as a tool by the rulers, whoever happens to be the president, not just (President) Obama, but all presidents before,” Tangen said. During prepared remarks he listed examples of IRS abuse of dissidents dating back to President Franklin Roosevelt.
Debbie Pelley, a retired teacher, and “40-hour a week activist,” said the tea party isn't the only group that has been targeted by the IRS.
“Pro-life groups, pro-Israel groups, pro-gun groups, all the (groups) that oppose Obama's agenda," she said.
John Cooper, who unsuccessfully sought a state House of Representatives seat in 2012, said he is protesting abuses but not government workers.
“This is not an indictment of federal employees,” Cooper said, stressing that the vast majority of government workers are conscientious and honest.
Earlier Wednesday, the IRS official at the center of the controversy told Congress she did nothing wrong, and then she invoked her constitutional right to refuse to answer lawmakers' questions.
Lois Lerner, who revealed the agency's targeting two weeks ago and apologized for the actions, appeared briefly before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Members of Congress have angrily complained that Lerner and other high-ranking IRS officials did not inform lawmakers that conservative groups were targeted, even though legislators asked the IRS multiple times about it after local tea party groups told lawmakers they were being treated unfairly.
``I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other committee,'' Lerner said.
Tangen said the Northeast Arkansas Tea Party doesn't have dues-paying members, but the group has 147 people on its email list. The organization meets at 5:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month at Barnhill's. However, Tangen said there will be no meetings in June of July.
The local chapter can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Associated Press contributed to this report.