A charitable organization that's been incorporated in Maryland for 141 years is one of the targets of the Internal Revenue Service's outrageous harassment campaign.
The Woman's Christian Temperance Union's most famous former president is Frances Willard, the first woman to be honored with a statue in the U.S. Capitol's National Statuary Hall. Her home in Evanston, Ill., is a National Historic Landmark. But the WCTU's local affiliate is under attack by the executive branch.
National Vice President Bunny Galladora, who is also president of WCTU's Maryland chapter, told The Washington Examiner that her group's 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status, which was first approved by the IRS in 1936, was suddenly and inexplicably revoked last year.
In a letter dated Dec. 24, 2012 and signed by Lois Lerner, the same IRS official who refused to answer questions at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing Wednesday, the group was informed that it would be placed in one of three categories during an "initial review process" -- even though the chapter never had to file a tax return because its annual income is less than $50,000.
The IRS demanded a list of all chapter directors from the date of incorporation, a copy of the group's constitution and bylaws and a list of webpages. "We gave them all the work we've been doing since 1872," Galladora said. All 141 years' worth of promoting family values, the virtues of temperance and moderation, and abstinence from alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs.
On April 3, Galladora called to remind the IRS that its self-imposed three-month deadline had already passed. But "condescending and rude" IRS employees told her they hadn't even gotten around to assigning the case to a tax-exempt specialist. So the Maryland chapter of the world's oldest voluntary, nonsectarian women's organization in continuous existence remains in "limbo," unable to assure nervous donors that their modest gifts are still tax-deductible.
In 2010, underage drinking alone cost Maryland taxpayers $1.3 billion, and the state received $192 million in various federal grants to address the growing problem of illegal drug use. Yet the IRS continues to harass a nonprofit group that has been working to stop substance abuse for more than a century. This is not only an outrageous abuse of federal power, it undermines that same government's own policies. And it's a disturbing example of the Obama administration's own hypocritical war on women.