Reality Check: 5th Cincinnati IRS agent allegedly connected to scandal

Reality Check: 5th Cincinnati IRS agent allegedly connected to scandal

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Continuing our exclusive coverage of the IRS scandal, FOX19 has obtained documents of a fifth Cincinnati IRS agent who reportedly came after a pro-life group in 2009.

The group was asked about prayer meetings, and the content of signs held up outside Planned Parenthood.

According to documents obtained by FOX19, the group in question is  'Coalition for Life', a group based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Coalition for Life stated it was 'organized for charitable, religious and educational activities', all of which would allow it to qualify as an exempt organization under 501(c)(3) status.

Over 150 pages of back-and-forth took place in 2009, prior to the dates given by the IRS for when so called 'rogue' agents began targeting conservative groups.

Testimony in Washington on Friday claimed it began in 2010 after a surge of Tea Party and Liberty groups began seeking 501(c)(4) status.

"In 2010, the inappropriate criteria that singled out organizations for tax exempt status by name was developed by what office, and where are those employees located?" Steven Miller was asked during a hearing on Friday, the former acting IRS Commissioner.

"For the most part, they are located in Cincinnati," he replied.

So, this latest revelation does not correlate with the timeline given in Washington as testimony on Friday.

The IRS has claimed this behavior began in 2010. However, according to documents obtained by FOX19, an IRS agent in Cincinnati, identified only as a 'Ms. Richards', was questioning the Coalition for Life as early as April of 2009.

Among the questions:

  • Please explain how all of your activities, including prayer meetings, held outside Planned Parenthood are considered educational as defined under 501(c)(3)?
  • Organizations exempt under 501(c)(3) may present opinions with scientific or medical facts.
  • Explain in detail the activities at these prayer meetings
  • Please provide the percentage of time your group spends on prayer groups as compared with other activities of the organization.
  • Please explain in detail the signs that are being held up outside Planned Parenthood, and explain how they are considered educational.

What is most interesting about those questions is that 501(c)(3) organizations are uniformly allowed to engage in religious activities and non-partisan advocacy efforts.

An attorney from Mosher & Associates, LLC. responded to those IRS questions in 2009 with a statement of his own.

These inquiries indicate some very wrong assumptions about the coalitions and the applicable law. As a result, the coalition has been prejudiced and has suffered harm since it is unable to solicit and receive tax deductible charitable contributions.

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