According to the Epoch Times, the American Accountability Foundation (AAF) has incurred the wrath of the tax agency. The IRS sent a letter examining the AAF's tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3). It has also demanded that the AAF turn over its extensive records on all its external communications with regard to its activities.
Tom Jones, AAF co-founder and president, described the move as a politically-motivated crackdown. He claimed that the IRS's letter was a retaliation for the AAF's efforts to expose the radicalism of some of President Joe Biden's administrative nominees – which led to their withdrawals. He also stressed that the demand for records related to current public officials is a clear indication of the IRS targeting AAF's research and education activities.
"This sudden request by the IRS is not random. It's a deliberate attempt to punish and suppress AAF's activities," said Jones. "It is surely no coincidence that [the] AAF – the very organization that exposed the weaponization of the IRS – is now the target of it." (Related: Democrats to give the IRS $80 billion to harass hardworking Americans with more audits and increased scrutiny.)
"We demand that this abuse is put to an end at once. Our Constitution and Declaration of Independence guarantee our God-given right to speak the truth about the powerful without being punished and harassed."
Attorney Cleta Mitchell could not help but compare the AAF's situation to other conservative and Tea Party groups she represented 10 years ago. She represented these organizations when the IRS, during the term of former President Barack Obama, went after them. "This certainly smacks of the exact same tactics used by the IRS then, …and apparently being used again now against AAF," Mitchell told the Epoch Times.
The AAF has been known for putting political appointments "under the microscope." It has used billboards, newspaper ads and digital campaigns to draw attention to what it deems as questionable statements and circumstances surrounding nominees put forward by Biden.
In one instance, the organization zoomed in on Gigi Sohn, Biden's nominee for the Federal Communications Commission who subsequently withdrew. According to Jones, the AFF spent approximately a year and a half exposing Sohn as "radical, extremist, hyper-partisan, with serious questions looming over her nomination." He specifically cited her alleged anti-police rhetoric as a focal point of concern.
The watchdog also targeted the nomination of Ann Carlson as administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is under the Department of Transportation. A press release from AAF stated that Carlson advocated for California-style leadership, appliance regulations, increased lawsuits against energy companies and higher gas prices – all while having investments in the oil and gas industry. The AAF considered Carlson's statements "radical" while questioning her finances, leading to the withdrawal of her candidacy.
Moreover, the AAF released 176 pages of correspondence alleging that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) had pressured the IRS to investigate the conservative organization Turning Point USA (TPUSA). The AAF claims that Whitehouse sought to revoke TPUSA's tax-exempt status due to hosting an event without masking or social distancing during the pandemic.
Furthermore, Whitehouse allegedly called on the IRS to target the tax-exempt status of AAF's partner organization, the Conservative Partnership Institute, accusing it of being part of a "right-wing dark-money network" undermining elections in the U.S. to benefit the Republican Party.
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