Sunday, December 8, 2013
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects us from government interfering with our right to speak freely. This bedrock right of free speech by every American, guaranteed by our Constitution, is fundamental to our civil society and hard-fought liberties for more than 230 years.
Two weeks ago, mid-level officials at the Internal Revenue Service admitted that agency personnel had singled out politically conservative organizations for unusual scrutiny in their applications for tax-exempt status. Groups with watch words such as “tea party,” “patriots,” and other right-leaning descriptions were inappropriately, and possibly illegally, asked to provide lists of donors and minutes of meetings as their applications were not acted upon sometimes for years.
The IRS is arguably the most powerful organ of the federal government. It has the authority to reach deeply into the lives of every American citizen, business, and non-profit entity. With tax audits and investigations, it can quickly strike fear into everyday lives and disrupt one’s ability to earn a living. Citizens and organizations “examined” by the IRS must bear the accounting, legal, and other costs to satisfy the department’s request for information and data, and to defend themselves.
An increasing number of Americans, small businesses, and organizations are stepping forward to provide first-hard experiences of IRS intimidation. Congressional hearings begin this week in Washington.
This article from The Washington Times on Saturday entitled “Treasury officials told of IRS probe in June 2012” is one of many covering the important topic.
There is no place in our government for suppression of free speech. Individuals and the organizations they form, regardless of political leanings, should never be intimidated or punished by any department or agency for criticizing the government. There should be no tolerance for a heavy-handed federal, state, or local government that serves “We, The People.”
Bruce Poliquin is the former Maine State Treasurer and a 2012 Republican primary candidate for the United States Senate. He has 35 years of experience owning and managing businesses. Bruce is a proud third-generation Franco-American Mainer and Harvard University graduate. Visit BrucePoliquin.net for his most recent commentary and analysis on media outlets throughout the State about the important issues facing Maine families and their jobs.