Three years later, TheTeaParty.net finally gets IRS tax-exempt OK

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Taxes,Tea Party,IRS,Nonprofits

One of the groups at the center of the IRS scandal has finally received its tax-exempt status after a three-year delay prompted by a politically driven move to block Tea Party and other conservative groups, many that slammed the president during his re-election, from winning the special status.

TheTeaParty.net, one of the nation's largest Tea Party groups, told Secrets that the long-sought declaration arrived Monday, well over three years after they applied for 501c(4) tax-exempt status in March of 2010, the start of the Tea Party movement. The notice came in a letter from the IRS.

The group said it endured harassment by agents targeting mostly conservative non-profit groups for their political donors, agenda and even reading lists, all against the rules. Those agents were headed by the recently retired Lois Lerner.

"After four years battling Lois Lerner's shock troops, we are relieved that the IRS has relented and finally recognized our right to operate as a non-profit,” said Todd Cefaratti, founder of TheTeaParty.net. “First they tried to ignore us. Then they tried to discredit us. And then they tried to deny our legal rights. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end to a sad chapter in our government’s targeting of its own citizens," he added.

Commenting on the long legal battle, the group’s lawyer, Dan Backer, said legal threats from the group helped squeeze out the positive decision. “It just proves the only way to beat the overreach of government is to fight back,” he said.

In addition to winning the IRS ruling, the group joined with another titled the “Contract From America” to form a partnership to highlight the original GOP Contract With America that turned 20-years-old this week. They plan to promote the contract during the midterm elections, when the original was used to help win the Republicans their first control of Congress in decades.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.