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TFA: TN Gov’t Looking for More Oversight of Political Advocacy Groups

Press release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; August 20, 2014:

Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Charitable Solicitations Division is attempting to reclassify political advocacy organizations as “charities” which would allow increased oversight into the operations of these organizations. It might also might be a pretext to obtain increased oversight and perhaps even for the basis to claim the authority to inspect the books of organizations critical of Governor Haslam and the state legislature. The Tennessee Charitable Solicitations Divisions issued a specific written demand in July that the Tennessee Firearms Association register as a “charity” even though the TFA does not act as a charity nor is it recognized as a 501(c)(3) charity by the IRS.

“This is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to muzzle political opposition.” pointed out John Harris, Executive Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association. “If they can do this to the TFA, then they can do it to any other grassroots group. Who will be next?”

In a tactic similar to the recent federal IRS attacks on tea party groups, the Charitable Solicitations Division arbitrarily set a deadline of August 1 for the TFA to register as a “charity.” The timing of this is in line with the primary election cycle where the TFA and the affiliated TFA Legislative Action Committee played heavily in multiple state legislative elections.

“This is clearly a case of political retribution for targeting establishment politicians in the recent election cycle” Harris continued.

The Tennessee Firearms Association is a 501(c)4 organization under federal regulations and is not classified as a charitable organization by the IRS.

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TN Senate GOP Letter to President: Quit Trying to ‘Intimidate Opponents of Obamacare’

Letter from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; October 8, 2013:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We write to you to express extreme displeasure in how you are overseeing the budget impasse in Congress known as the “government shutdown.”

Ostensibly, a government shutdown would revolve around saving taxpayer funds. That is not the case in this instance. In fact, your administration seems to be going to great lengths and sparing no expense to sell your particular shutdown narrative.

While the media eagerly accepts this narrative, we in public service know the truth. The IRS is still collecting taxes and the NSA is still compiling metadata. Vital services are still available and essential employees are still getting paid.

There is no government shutdown, merely a slowdown. What’s worse is that public displays of this so-called shutdown appear to be packaged for mass media consumption. Your administration seems to be in the business of selling this “shutdown” as a creation of House Republicans when it is in truth a maneuver by Senate Democrats to save the implementation of your administration’s legislative showpiece.

Witness the barricading of the World War II Memorial in Washington. This is a memorial that, while usually staffed during business hours, is open to the public 24 hours a day. The public “closing” of this memorial and keeping veterans off the grounds by threat of force was a farce. The closing of the D-Day Memorial and 24 other memorials overseas just adds insult to injury.

Tennesseans are well aware of this tactic. Over ten years ago when our state faced a budget crisis, state parks in key legislative districts were closed. This was a last ditch effort by liberals to scare Tennesseans into supporting higher taxes. The Obama administration has similarly shut down federal parks in Tennessee, in some cases blocking roads children need to take to school. This tactic was transparent then and it is transparent now.

Just like the old tax and spenders in Tennessee, the Obama administration hopes to intimidate opponents of Obamacare into capitulating and selling out their constituents – constituents who want the Affordable Care Act repealed and replaced.

Your administration wants us to believe we cannot reduce the budget and we must continue down the path of increasing our debt. Yet the Senate has not passed a budget in over four years and our debt as a percentage of GDP sits at nearly 73%.

We know that the people of Tennessee see through this blatant attempt to manipulate public perception. We hope the rest of the nation sees this “shutdown” not as the folly of Republican intransigence but for what it truly is: a face-saving measure by a President to ram through the implementation of unworkable legislation.

Sincerely,

The Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus

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Corker, Alexander Comment on IRS Targeting of Tea Party Groups

Statement from U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; May 10, 2013:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., made the following statement today in response to reports that the Internal Revenue Service inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election.

“As I said last year, all nonprofit organizations seeking tax-exempt status should be treated fairly and equitably by the IRS,” said Corker. “The IRS’s admission that its employees were specifically targeting conservative groups – including groups in Tennessee – is outrageous, disturbing, and will further erode Americans’ trust in the federal government. Swift and decisive action should be taken to punish those responsible and to assure the American people that these actions will not be tolerated at the IRS or any other federal agency.”

Last March, Senator Corker joined Senate colleagues in asking the Internal Revenue Service to treat all nonprofit groups seeking tax-exempt status fairly in the designation process.

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Statement from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; May 10, 2013:

MARYVILLE, May 10 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander today released the following statement on the IRS’s admission today that it targeted conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election:

“This is the United States of America, where the First Amendment protects our right to organize and speak up and speak out, and it’s shocking to learn that the IRS arbitrarily targeted any peaceful political organization for ideological reasons. I asked the IRS last year to explain its actions, and today we find out it was, in fact, targeting Tea Party groups. Congress needs to investigate this further and make sure those responsible for it are held accountable and that something like this never happens again.”

Alexander joined 11 senators in March 2012 in sending a letter (attached) to IRS commissioner Douglas Schulman seeking assurance that the agency’s string of inquiries toward 501(c)(4) organizations affiliated with the Tea Party “has a sound basis in law and is consistent with the IRS’s treatment of tax-exempt organizations across the spectrum.”

Alexander said at the time: “The extra scrutiny the IRS appears to be giving Tea Party-related nonprofits is disturbing, so I hope we find that the IRS is treating all tax-exempt organizations the same. The government should not have what amounts to an enemies list based on what people or organizations say or believe, and if it turns out the IRS is denying Tea Party groups the proper tax status because of what they have to say, it must stop and those responsible must be held accountable.”

Related: (IRS Letter 501c4 Requests for Information.pdf)

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