The Mississippi Tea Party (MSTP) announced today that it was one of the “tea party” and “patriot” groups harassed by the Internal Revenue Service during its campaign to stifle and suppress the political speech of U.S. Citizens. Beginning in 2009 the MSTP experienced long delays in responses to its application for tax exempt status and was further harassed by letters demanding, under penalty of perjury, that it turn over extensive confidential information about it members and their private activities. The letters it received are virtually identical those that have been released by other groups and reported on in recent news stories.
Roy Nicholson, Chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party said “it was obvious to us that the delays, lengthy interrogations by mail, and demands for confidential information were a deliberate attempt by IRS officials to use intimidation to suppress the political speech and lawful activities of U.S. Citizens.” When asked what response the Tea Party made Nicholson replied, “We recognized it for what it was and decided that rather than allowing ourselves to become absorbed, violated, and distracted by fighting the U.S. Government we would make better use of our limited resources and time by simply advising the IRS that we were abandoning our application for 501c(4) status.” Nicholson added “Though the IRS did its best to suppress our speech and stop our movement they were unable to subdue our spirit, diminish our resolve, or limit our effectiveness.” The Mississippi Tea Party went on to accomplish several significant things in Mississippi. For instance, it played a big role in getting Voter ID passed in Mississippi. Its Move the House campaign was a big part of why there is a Republican majority in the State House for the first time in 140 years. It was a crucial player in stopping Billy McCoy’s absurd redistricting plan with its ‘friend of the court’ brief filed in the NAACP federal redistricting suit. Additionally, MSTP has been effective in holding back the Obamacare Health Insurance Exchange in the state, advocating for charter schools and many other important issues. Those are “just some of the things that Mississippians accomplished in spite of the IRS’s criminal assault on Free Speech.”
Mississippi Tea Party’s Executive Director, Julia Hodges, will be in Washington, D.C. on Thursday morning to be part of a press conference with Representative Michelle Bachmann and Tea Party Patriots’ President Jenny Beth Martin to demand thorough action on the IRS scandal.