May 19, 2013

THE HILL: Complaints of IRS targeting by religious groups on the rise.

The number of religious groups reporting they were improperly targeted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is increasing.

At least a half-dozen conservative groups say they received an unusual degree of scrutiny from the IRS, according to the Religion News Service, a non-profit news service operated out of the University of Missouri’s journalism school.

Earlier this week Rev. Billy Graham’s son made headlines with a letter to President Obama accusing the administration of targeting the Samaritan’s Purse charity and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in an attempt to intimidate the group.

Since then, the Catholics United Education Fund and the Christian Voices for Life have reported significant delays in their applications for tax-exempt status from the IRS.

The Coalition for Life of Iowa also said that it took unusually long to receive their tax exempt status, according to the Thomas More Society, a non-profit group focused on supporting pro-life causes.

At a House hearing investigating the IRS abuses on Friday, Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) called attention to The Coalition for Life of Iowa’s complaint, citing one particular question that the group was asked by the agency.

“Their question, specifically asked from the IRS to the Coalition for Life of Iowa: ‘Please detail the content of the members of your organization’s prayers. Would that be an inappropriate question to a 501 c3 applicant? The content of one’s prayers?” asked Schock of the IRS’s former acting commissioner, Steven Miller.

Render unto Caesar . . . . But what if what Caesar needs is a swift kick in the ass?

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