Rio Grande Foundation president Paul Gessing will speak at the 2014 “Tax Day” protest sponsored by the Albuquerque Tea Party. The rally is being held from 4 to 7pm at the intersection of Louisiana and Menaul on Tuesday, April 15. Speakers including Gessing will begin around 5pm. In his remarks, Gessing plans to note that it has been just over 100 years since the federal income tax in its current form was created (in 1913). The IRS itself has been around for just over 60 years. As Supreme Court Justice John Marshall, noted in Marbury v. Madison, “The power to tax is the power to destroy.” When it comes to the IRS, there is no government agency with as much power, as much access to the intimate details of Americans’ lives (with the possible exception now of the NSA), and as much power to destroy the lives of the very same Americans this government “Of, by and for the people” is supposed to protect. Unfortunately, President Obama is not the first President to abuse this agency which has been called the “American Gestapo” for his own political benefit. In Obama’s case, this has involved using the IRS to attack conservative organizations and those who have criticized his Administration in ways that resemble disgraced former President Richard Nixon. The Albuquerque Tea Party has faced some of the most direct attacks at the hands of the IRS, but conservative organizations all over the nation are being attacked for the mere act of engaging in the political process:

  • Groups like the Albuquerque Tea Party were specifically targeted and denied tax exempt status simply for being conservative. Lois Lerner, a former top official at the IRS, recently “invoked the 5th Amendment” protection against self-incrimination in Congressional testimony in relation to her agency’s attacks on the Tea Party and other conservative groups;
  • April 15 is the day Americans come face-to-face with the Internal Revenue Service. But nonprofits find themselves face-to-face with the IRS more and more often as burdensome regulations are proposed. Instead of focusing on educating the public and serving public needs, nonprofits are spending more time defending their freedom to do their work.
  • What if a local citizen organization wants to register voters at the state fair, or hold a candidate forum on an issue they care about? The IRS is considering stopping this!
  • Or what if an organization like ours wants to let citizens know how their elected officials are voting on issues? That’s an important role we fill—as watchdogs—and the IRS has considered severely regulating it.
  • Tax Day reminds us that an added bonus for charitable giving is the tax deductions. Those who give help their communities while reducing their tax bills. It’s a win-win!

John F. Kennedy once said, “The raising of extraordinarily large sums of money, given voluntarily and freely by millions of our fellow Americans, is a unique American tradition… Philanthropy, charity, giving voluntarily and freely… call it what you like, but it is truly a jewel of an American tradition.”

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