On Wednesday, June 19, the Tea Party Patriots will gather its forces in a rally on Capitol Hill and attempt to press its case against the Internal Revenue Service and to stem the push towards comprehensive immigration reform. A pre-rally conference call attended by 7,000 organizers augurs a big event to come. The list of prospective speakers listed on the “Audit the IRS” website includes three senators, eleven congressional representatives, a host of far-right media personalities and a bevy of local, state and national Tea Party leaders.
The Tea Party Patriots “IRS Rally Toolkit” points to some of the organizers’ goals on Wednesday. Some are simply parochial and sectarian. By focusing on the so-called IRS targeting of Tea Party Patriots, and “the critically important role” of that group, the toolkit and the rally aim to cement its claim to be the “largest tea party organization…with more than 3,400 locally organized chapters.” Only one other national Tea Party faction is listed on the speakers’ list, Darla Dawald from Grassfire / Patriot Actions Network. And readers of this article should remember that the Patriot Action Network is riddled with white nationalists and militia types, has been front and center among the anti-immigrant forces as well as with the pro-gun groups.
The suggested sign slogans mainly target the IRS, but the part of the toolkits on “the relationship between Obamacare and the IRS” intends to re-ignite the old passions that first created the Tea Party movement.
The content of the organizing conference call points to another, more sub rosa, goal: scuttle the drive towards immigration reform in Congress. Several times during the call the “IRS scandal” was paired with the “immigration bill scandal.”
Early into the “Audit the IRS” rally planning conference call on June 13, Tea Party Patriots leader Jenny Beth Martin quickly pivoted from the IRS to immigration reform “In addition to this IRS scandal, there’s one other thing that we need to be paying attention to that’s happening on Capitol Hill right now, and that’s the immigration bill that’s moving through the Senate at full force, and now the House is getting ready to pick it up, and the House is beginning to move through with their own version of the bill. And if it passes, the comprehensive, quote unquote comprehensive bill, that is now 1077 pages long in the United States Senate. If that passes in the Senate and the House passes anything at all, it could just be a two page bill, the people on Capitol Hill will use both of those pieces of legislation, send it to conference, and come out with a comprehensive bill. And who knows what will even be in it, because conference will to that, more than likely, behind closed doors. So next week, in addition to our Audit the IRS rally, we’re going to be asking people to go talk to your senators and congressmen before you leave Capitol Hill and ask them if they’ve actually read the full 1077 page bill.”
Keli Carender, Tea Party Patriots National Coordinator, interjected on the call to ratchet up the anger, “And that’s another scandal! It is! That’s another scandal. It was written by groups like La Raza, which means ‘the race,’ so a racist organization, the AFL-CIO, other unions. It was written behind closed doors with their input, while the guys who actually work for our immigration system on the border or in customs, they were deliberately locked out, and they’ve been begging to have some input on this bill because they actually know what they’re talking about. They’ve been shut out at every step of the way, and that’s the scandal.”
By ginning up the Tea Party ranks with a sense of victimhood, the organizers hope to take that energy into the public debate over immigrants’ rights. It should be noted and emphasized, that the Tea Party movement has not been victimized by the IRS, as well documented in previous IREHR articles. And the Tea Party movement’s anti-immigrant activism has not been a secret since IREHR published Beyond FAIR in January 2012. What is new today is the conjoining of the issues at a critical moment in the legislative process.
In that regard, particular attention should be paid to the size and energy of the crowd tomorrow, as well as to the congressional representatives. Schedule to speak, according to the Audit the IRS website, are: Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma, Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, Rep Tom Graves of Georgia, Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, Rep. Steve King of Iowa, Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, and Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona.
Please tune in later, as IREHR will analyze and discuss the impact of this rallying of Tea Party Patriot forces.