After a long wait, a tea party organization has finally been granted tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service.
TheTeaParty.Net calls itself the nation's largest grassroots tea party organization, claiming to have recruited more than three-million people to the tea party movement. The organization originally applied for 501(c)4 status in March 2010 – but like many tea party-affiliated and pro-family and pro-Israel conservative groups, it endured intrusive, discriminatory harassment as part of a campaign by the IRS to target conservative non-profit groups.
But after well over three years of waiting, TheTeaParty.Net finally received a letter saying it had been granted its tax-exempt status. Spokeswoman Jennifer Burke explains that her organization is one of the conservative groups represented by the American Center for Law & Justice in a federal lawsuit.
"And on the day that the final papers were being filed for the lawsuit, we received word that our status had been granted,” she tells OneNewsNow.
Burke says she is encouraged by the news that the person at the center of the IRS scandal, Lois Lerner, is retiring from the agency. "I'm happy she's gone,” she shares. “I would have preferred that she had been fired because ... some of those taxpayers she targeted are going to be on the hook for her pension and benefits as a retiree."
Burke says with the group’s tax-exempt status approved, it is now it is time to get ready for 2014.
"I'm excited now that this burden has been lifted going into 2014,” she says. “We're ready to win back our government on behalf of the American people and the Constitution."
When the ACLJ began defending several tea party groups in early 2012, it described the IRS’s actions as “a coordinated attempt to intimidate [those groups] by demanding information that is outside the scope of legitimate inquiry and violates the First Amendment.”