Pro-life group bullied by IRS, tells of hardship at congressional hearing6/5/2013
DES MOINES – A pro-life advocate from Iowa testified Tuesday before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee about what she described as blatant and offensive harassment by the Internal Revenue Service.
Susan Martinek, founder of the Coalition for Life of Iowa, told committee members that the IRS asked her group to surrender their First Amendment rights. Specifically, the federal agency wanted assurances that its members would not bother Planned Parenthood.
Additionally, they questioned the group about its educational activities, potential political activities, prayer groups and signage, according to the testimony.
The group is a registered religious and educational non-profit.
“Coalition for Life of Iowa’s testimony today, coupled with the many other pro-life organizations we’ve represented against the IRS, make it undisputedly clear that pro-life organizations were systematically treated in an unfair and biased manner by the IRS,” President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Society Tom Brejcha wrote in a release Tuesday. Brejcha represented and accompanied Martinek at the hearing.
“Even New York Rep. Charles Rangel, a liberal Democrat, referred to a ‘cancer’ inside the IRS that must be fixed,” he added.
Martinek was joined in her testimony by other witnesses including Tea Party advocates and the chairman of the National Organization for Marriage.
“I speak today so that what happened to us – the IRS’s demonstrated harassment, improper questions, and intolerance toward our message – may not happen to others,” Martinek testified.