When applying for Tax-Free status -- aka. to be one of the "Takers" as it is often called -- an organization should not be surprised if they might have to "answer a few questions." That is what the IRS does. If Tax-Free status were "free" -- well who would we have left to be the "Makers"?
Yes but the outraged ones insist they were singled out by the IRS for their "beliefs" -- for their "exterior labels" -- without a thought to the 'content of their characters.' Apparently they think equal-opportunity for all should apply at the IRS too. How convenient.
Funny thing -- it does. "Tea Party" 501(c)(4) claimants were NOT the only ones challenged. They accounted for around a 1/3 of the Political cases examined. Fully 2/3 of the IRS challenges had "other" beliefs and affiliations.
Inspector General’s Report on I.R.S. Audits
May 14, 2013, nytimes.com
While the criteria used by the Determinations Unit specified particular organization names, the team of specialists was also processing applications from groups with names other than those identified in the criteria. The inappropriate and changing criteria may have led to inconsistent treatment of organizations applying for tax-exempt status. For example, we identified some organizations’ applications with evidence of significant political campaign intervention that were not forwarded to the team of specialists for processing but should have been. We also identified applications that were forwarded to the team of specialists but did not have indications of significant political campaign intervention. All applications that were forwarded to the team of specialists experienced substantial delays in processing.
Soon thereafter, according to the IRS, a Determinations Unit specialist was asked to search for applications with Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 in the organization’s name as well as other “political-sounding” names. EO [Exempt Organizations] function officials stated that, in May 2010, the Determinations Unit began developing a spreadsheet that would become known as the “Be On the Look Out” listing (hereafter referred to as the BOLO listing), which included the emerging issue of Tea Party applications.
When you are overwhelmed with "requests" in the office, "spreadsheets" are very handy tracking tools. IRS specialists could be seen as incompetent if they didn't make use of them, given their ever-increasing workloads and austerely-shrinking workforce.
Figure 4 shows that approximately one-third of the applications identified for processing by the team of specialists included Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 in their names, while the remainder did not. According to the Director, Rulings and Agreements, the fact that the team of specialists worked applications that did not involve the Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 groups demonstrated that the IRS was not politically biased in its identification of applications for processing by the team of specialists.
Figure 4: Breakdown of Potential Political Cases by Organization Name
As of May 31, 2012, 32 (36 percent) of 89 I.R.C. § 501(c)(3) potential political cases were open more than 270 calendar days, and the organizations had responded timely to all requests for additional information, as required. As of the end of our fieldwork, none of these organizations had sued the IRS, even though they had the legal right. In another 38 open cases, organizations were timely in their responses to additional information requests, but the 270-calendar-day threshold had not been reached as of May 31, 2012. These 38 organizations may have the right to sue the IRS in the future if determinations are not made within the 270-calendar-day period.
Tax-Free status should not be Scott-Free. If it were then everyone would want it, even those who interests and goals are obviously more "political" than "social."
The IRS has the right, the responsibility, and indeed the obligation to verify such claims of privilege. Whether the "cover of the book" has easy to fathom title, or not. It would seem they have done just that. Done their jobs, inspite of the ever-present threats of down-sizing and budget cuts.
Perhaps these outraged "Takers" of privilege, should read Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution again, and when they're done, either sue the IRS for discrimination, or shut up with their tax-weaselly whining.