There’s no such thing as the Tea Party.
Rather, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of tea party groups across nation involving tens of thousands of American citizens. They talk to each other, sometimes coordinate with each other. They share similar philosophies of smaller government, opposition to deficit spending and a desire to cut taxes and spending. But they sometimes differ on tactics, strategy and even specific goals.
In short, there’s no hierarchy, no overarching organization. Any group of people can call themselves the Tea Party.
That’s one reason why recent revelations that the Internal Revenue Service was singling out groups that used “tea party” or “patriot” in their names for added scrutiny is so infuriating. Those groups represent nothing more than ordinary citizens trying to exercise their constitutional rights.
The Associated Press reviewed the tax returns of 93 of the groups singled out for scrutiny by the IRS. Only a handful of them could reasonably be called big money groups, with annual incomes in the six-, seven- and even eight-figure range. And some of those big money groups also had set up political action committees or had other political ties.
But the AP found the majority of the tea party groups it reviewed had no overt political ties. All told, those groups had just $16,700 a year in median income. They had just $12,270 a year in median expenses. Most of the expenses reported by the groups included items such as office supplies, insurance, rent for meeting facilities and travel expenses.
The tax law experts who reviewed those returns for the AP agreed that some of the big money groups probably did deserve extra scrutiny but the little groups that made of the bulk of the tea party organizations did not.
These groups saw their applications for nonprofit status delayed for months. According to ABC News, tea party groups were forced to answer dozens of questions about their members, their beliefs and why they chose the names they did for their organizations. The IRS required many of them to provide copies of all of their newsletters, fliers and any literature they provided at their meetings. The IRS demanded that many provide copies of all articles written about them in the press, as well as copies of all the pages on their websites.
The IRS demanded all of this, threw up all of those hurdles, to ordinary citizens simply trying to make their voices heard. That’s outrageous. That they singled these people out for holding certain political views, allowing others who held opposing views to go through the process unscathed, violates every principle of democracy.
On Tuesday, tea party groups across the nation, including Dalton, came out to protest the harassment they have received from the IRS. They had every right to be angry. And all American citizens, no matter what their beliefs are, should be angry, too.
There’s no such thing as the Tea Party.
Citizen of the Week: Kacee Smith of the Georgia Rampage
When the Georgia Rampage became Dalton’s first professional indoor football team last year, it would have been easy for the owner and players to focus only on drawing attention to themselves as they tried to build up the team’s following.
Successes continue at Dalton State College
These are exciting times for our local college, Dalton State, both on campus and off.
Mark Millican: The birds hushed their singing
For the uninitiated, that line is from what many consider the greatest rock song of all time, “Stairway to Heaven,” by Led Zeppelin.
Misty Watson: When blood sugar drops, anger rises
It wouldn’t have taken 107 married couples and 21 days to figure out that being hungry makes people angry.
Working for the man
You may be one of the many Americans who will rush to file their income taxes today. But you may not yet have earned enough money to pay all of the taxes that will be imposed on you this year.
Letter: The glib tongue, the fake smile
A recent Daily Citizen column by Walter Williams will both awaken and frighten any thinking person who claims even a smidgen of knowledge about — or belief in — either the Bible, world history or current events.
College soccer team would bring local talent together
Dreams of combining the best soccer players from all local high schools into one team finally could come true.
Letter: Primaries feature many choices
Many people are confused this year about the May 20 Election Day. Unfortunately, very few voters in Whitfield County actually go to the polls for a primary election. But this means any increase in participation can have a significant impact.
Letter: Hooper for Murray chief magistrate
Thanks to all the wonderful people and friends who backed me for District 1 Murray County Board of Education. You sure showed a lot of support. Sorry I had to step down due to my and my wife’s health. I am a lot better now.
Judicial dispute could have been avoided
Judicial elections in Whitfield and Murray counties tend to be low key. In fact, we can’t recall the last time an incumbent judge on the Conasauga Superior Court, which cover the two counties, has even faced a challenger.
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- Citizen of the Week: Kacee Smith of the Georgia Rampage