Robert Knight

--Have you conducted or will you conduct rallies or exhibitions for or against any public

policies, legislations, public officers, political candidates, or like kinds?

--Provide the following for all the events you have conducted and will conduct for 2012 and 2013:

a. The time, location, and content schedule of each rally or exhibition.

b. Provide copies of handouts you provided or will provide to the public.

c. The names of persons from your organization and the amount of time they have spent or will spend on the event. Indicate the name and amount of time they spent on the event. Indicate the name and amount of compensation paid or will be paid to each person.

--Provide details regarding all of your activity on Facebook and Twitter.

Let’s see. “We took the dog to the beach today….”

Addressing the obvious targeting of tea parties, one IRS official claimed, “what happened here was that foolish mistakes were made by people who were trying to be more efficient in their workload selection."

Really? So changing the application from one with five to six short questions “to one that consisted of dozens of questions, necessitating volumes of materials and documents to be filed with the IRS was done in order to 'be more efficient'?” Mrs. Mitchell asks.

The agency first tried to finger two "rogue" employees in the Cincinnati IRS office as culprits. That ploy was “completely false,” Mrs. Mitchell writes. “In 2011, at least one of the Cincinnati IRS agents assigned to handle two clients' applications advised me that the Washington, DC office was actively involved in the decisions and processing.... The effort by senior IRS officials to lay this scheme at the hands of ‘a few low level' IRS employees is despicable and must not be tolerated.”

Mark D. West, founder and chairman of the Chattanooga Tea Party, told me that his group finally got its C-4 letter last month after nearly four years. He contrasted it with the treatment of a leftist group called Chattanooga Organizing for Action (COA), which applied in the summer of 2011 and received its tax letter in January 2013.

COA, which is not affiliated with Barack Obama’s Organizing for America campaign, says its mission is “to assist individuals and organizations in becoming the essential agents of real systemic change to achieve social, economic and environmental justice.” Not exactly a red flag to the current IRS.

The good news in all this is that the IRS itself is finally being put under a hot light at the table of public disclosure. It’s a little like the EPA getting caught dumping its garbage in a wildlife preserve.

And the Tea Parties are stirring again.

“Some of the perceived loss in enthusiasm and activity has been valid,” said Mr. West. “But it’s also been that we got smarter. Instead of time and treasure spent at rallies in Washington, D.C., we refocused our energies on more productive and effective efforts.”

In Chattanooga, that meant replacing a three-term, liberal city council member with a Chattanooga Tea Party board member in the April election, plus two more conservatives joining the council.

“This goes back to 2010, and a property tax increase,” said Mr. West. “Every single council member who voted for the tax increase was defeated. These are the battles that the mainstream media won’t focus on.”

Last Tuesday, with 24 hours’ notice, the Chattanooga Tea Party mounted a rally of 100 people at an IRS office as part of a national protest, he said.

“They think we’re dead,” he said.

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.