It wasn’t just the Tea Party: it has been widely reported that the IRS also has harassed and discriminated against pro-Israel charities, in particular those that support settlements in Judea and Samaria. In the Free Beacon, Alana Goodman pursues the story:
A Washington Free Beacon investigation has identified at least five pro-Israel organizations that have been audited by the IRS in the wake of a coordinated campaign by White House-allied activist groups in 2009 and 2010.
These organizations, some of which are too afraid of government reprisals to speak publicly, say in interviews with the Free Beacon that they now believe the IRS actions may have been coordinated by the Obama administration.
The media scrutiny began as early as March 26, 2009, when the Washington Post’s David Ignatius published a column questioning the groups’ tax-exempt status.Ignatius’s column is here. Ignatius displayed a remarkable obtuseness with regard to the First Amendment:
For many years, the United States has had a policy against spending aid money to fund Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which successive administrations have regarded as an obstacle to peace. Yet private organizations in the United States continue to raise tax-exempt contributions for the very activities that the government opposes.But the tax laws do not depend, obviously, on whether a charitable organization supports or opposes the policies of the current U.S. administration. Groups like the Sierra Club and the ACLU have often promoted policies at odds with administration policies, but no one has suggested that they should therefore lose their tax-exempt status. And, of course, you can contribute to tax-exempt organizations like the Free Gaza Movement. But somehow the idea took hold that charities lending support to Israeli settlements are somehow different. This idea was promoted by pro-Palestinian groups, who encouraged IRS scrutiny of such organizations.