On May 17, IREHR published, “The Tea parties and the IRS ‘Scandal:’ The Actual Facts of the Case,” a special report by Devin Burghart. Four days later, May 21, we followed up with Mr. Burghart’s, “Tea Party Group Protesting IRS Has History of Questionable Political Involvement.” The first story showed that a half-dozen Tea Party organizations with non-profit corporate status engaged in apparently off-limits electioneering activities. Both the special report and the article following became a unique source of hard information about Tea Party activities that might have reasonably led to any number of investigations.
The National Memo republished both pieces and told IREHR that they drew an exceptionally large numbers of readers and comment, including New York Times political reporter Nick Confessore, who subsequently re-tweeted one of the stories. It was also cited, with significant quotations, by articles on the Daily Kos and Crooks and Liars, among other sites. Bill Berkowitz from TruthOut did an interview with Devin Burghart about the story, which was circulating and re-circulating.
Ten days after IREHR’s first words on the topic, May 27, The New York Times published a story entitled, “Groups Targeted by I.R.S. Tested Rules on Politics,” by Nick Confessore and Michael Luo. It substantially paralleled IREHR’s special report (with some interesting additions). It did not cite IREHR as a source, however. In any case, IREHR dug up the facts on Tea Party activities, and we remain the principal source for hard data exposing this anti-democratic far right movement.