The IRS intentionally targeting the Tea Party apparently was not enough of an affront to constitutional freedoms. Taxpayers may be shocked to know that they paid for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to “monitor” recent Tea Party rallies around the country when they gathered to protest at IRS offices nationwide. Armed DHS agents were spotted at Tea Party protests in Indiana, Florida, California, Missouri, and Illinois last week.
The congressional hearings on the IRS targeting the Tea Party and other conservative or religious groups are still ongoing. The public relations black cloud hovering over the federal government due to all the current scandals has not prevented the powers-that-be in Washington, D.C. from making even more mistakes, however. Exactly why Department of Homeland Security agents were sent to monitor the Tea Party rallies remains unclear.
If peacefully exercising your First Amendment rights now requires supervision by federal agents, liberals have finally rendered the Constitution a meaningless document. One Tea Party protestor had this to say about the presence of DHS agents at the rally:
“It’s insulting that Homeland Security felt the need to be present as American citizens exercise their first amendment right, but decide to look away when suspected Islamic terrorist Tamerlan Tsarnaev travels back and forth to his home country.”
Fiscally conservative protestors carried signs which read, “Don’t Target me Bro!,” “Abolish the IRS,” and “We Do Not Consent to Tyranny.” During the May 21 Tea Party protest in St. Louis County, no local law enforcement agencies were present for crowd control or rally monitoring, only agents from the federal agency were reportedly in attendance.
A Department of Homeland Security agent allegedly “let slip” during a Tea Party IRS building protest that the San Jose rally was the largest in California that day. Protestors quickly surmised that DHS agents had also been deployed to other such events elsewhere in the state.
Our borders are far from secure. Instead of President Barack Obama allowing the extremely important aspect of national security to go unaddressed, he could send the DHS agents to “monitor” illegal immigrants sneaking into the country instead of American citizens. The faux sequester woes the president talked about frequently before the ongoing scandals emerged apparently did not adversely impact the Department of Homeland Security. The federal agency clearly has enough funding to transport agents around the country to watch those exercising their free speech rights.
An unidentified Tea Party protestor had this to say about the DHS presence when speaking with Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft:
“Many of our 300 Tea Party folks were approached immediately by Homeland Security and told they could not be on federal property. My lawyer told me as long as I didn’t block passage we were okay. Many Homeland Security trucks and a helicopter above us scared many patriots, so most of the group went to the public side walk to rally.”
An Albuquerque Tea Party protest was one of the more powerful rallies—the group was among those apparently targeted by the IRS. Organization president Rick Harbaugh stated that their 501c4 application was delayed for almost four years by IRS reviewers. The New Mexico Tea Party group reportedly sent in almost 20 inches of documentation to answer IRS questions. Harbaurgh had this to say about the protest and the fight for non-profit tax status:
“The abuses we saw were in the sheer volume of stuff they were demanding … that’s harassment. We asked a number of CPAs who have experience with this if this was typical. By and large, they said, ‘this is crazy.’ They [IRS] have a job to do, I understand that. I think they overstepped a lot.”
While researching the IRS treatment of Tea Party groups, the New Mexico Watchdog group also discovered that an 83-year-old woman who spent years in a WWII internment camp was also targeted. Marianne Chiffelle, a great-grandmother, stated that even though she has always paid her taxes and has never been in legal trouble, she isn’t surprised about the scrutiny due to the “government we have” at the moment.” Chiffelle is a naturalized American citizen who was born in the region now known as Indonesia. Her father was a Shell Oil executive when World War II began. She entered a Japanese internment camp when she was 12 and was permitted to leave when she was 16. After the war was over, she moved to the Netherlands and ultimately immigrated to America with her husband in 1960.
How did Chiffelle get on the IRS radar? She is the volunteer host of the Bernalillo County Republican Party breakfasts at the local Golden Corral on Friday mornings. She helped create the Children’s Freedom Scholarship Fund, which often distributes patriotic coloring books to Albuquerque area children. The books offer information and coloring images of US Presidents and teach youngsters about the meaning of freedom.
She sounds very dangerous doesn’t she?
Recent posts on her Facebook page calling for cuts in congressional salaries likely caught the attention of IRS reviewers. Chiffelle also called for a reduction in the taxpayer-funded paychecks issued to the vice-president and the president. The senior citizen did not want smaller salaries for liberal lawmakers, but for elected officials from both parties. The breakfasts were noted among the plethora of details disclosed by the Albuquerque Tea Party when asked about any connections to political groups.
The Department of Homeland Security guidelines prohibit any generalization or stereotyping based upon political agenda or “Muslim references,” yet agents were sent to multiple Tea Party protests. The DHS training guidelines go to great lengths to emphasize that staffers and trainers are not permitted to look negatively or become suspect of any group or individual simply because they are from the Middle East or have a connection to Islam. All Muslims and Middle Eastern citizens are obviously not linked to terror, but the same considerations and presumption of innocence should be extended to American citizens who participate in a Tea Part protest.
Excerpts from the DHS Training Guide
- One can have radical thoughts/ideas, including disliking the US government without being violent; for example, trainers who equate the desire for Sharia law with criminal activity violate basic tenets of the First Amendment.
- Don’t use programs that generalize about appearance, national origin, or other similar characteristics in an attempt to identify “indicators” or “types” of people likely to carry out acts of violent extremism. Avoid such examples—a change in beard shape, listens to hip hop music, from a specific religious branch, etc. These indicators are inaccurate.
- Don’t use training that is overbroad, equating an entire religion, nation, region, or culture with evil or violence. For example, it is incorrect and damaging to assert that “all Muslims have terrorist ties.”
- Don’t use training that makes meaningless or overbroad conclusions about the connection between suspicious activity and culture.
- In line with the National Security Strategy, don’t use training that treats the American Muslim community as a problem rather than a partner. The president, the secretary of Homeland Security and the attorney general have all stated that communities are part of the solution, not part of the problem.
- Don’t use training that relies on fear or conspiracies to motivate law enforcement. Don’t use training premised on theories with little or no evidence to support them.
The Department of Homeland Security appears to have violated nearly all of their own guidelines when opting to monitor Tea Party rallies. There were no reports of violence, vandalism, or intimidation of those entering or exiting the IRS offices by Tea Party members. The vast majority of the protestors carried hand-made signs, America flags, and Gadsden flags at the rallies.
A review of the photos and videos of the protests from around the country shared on social media outlets shows the event was both multi-generation and multi-racial. Many college-age Americans also walked with their elders during the protests. Repeal Obamacare signs also filtered through the crowds. Despite the short two-day notice about the Tea Party IRS protests, hundreds turned out at each venue.