SWLA Tea Party blasts IRS - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

SWLA Tea Party blasts IRS

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

The Southwest Louisiana Tea Party movement began picking up steam in 2009 as members from throughout the five-parish area began gathering for rallies and becoming more visible and involved in local government and the political scene.

President Jonathan Duhon said he got involved because it seemed that too many ordinary people had become disengaged from participating in our democracy.

"We really didn't know that much about our government anymore. We didn't know about it on the local level; we didn't know about it on the state level or on the federal level," said Duhon.

Last year, the group applied to IRS for a type of tax exempt status allowed for non profits.  Duhon is convinced they received extra scrutiny because they are a Tea Party group. 

"Having to wait seven months for an answer from the IRS as to whether or not we'd get the status, I mean, that's way beyond what it normally takes. And then our next correspondence with the IRS wasn't yes or no, it was supply more information," said Duhon.

Duhon asked to meet at the Veterans Memorial Park for our interview. It's a place he feels is appropriate to discuss civil liberties. He said abuse of power by the IRS intimidates groups from exercising their constitutional rights.

"A lot of these groups, instead of re-applying or supplying the information, as outlandish as it was, to the IRS, a lot of them just threw up their hands and quit," Duhon said.

The outcome he hopes for is a very different tax system.

"Where we do away with the three bad letters I-R-S, which is fair to everyone, or they need to be a nonpartisan group that handles everybody fairly," said Duhon.

He wants those who abused their authority to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

"Any of those that actually made the decision to target these groups, to do away with their first amendment rights, they need to go to jail. They need to go to prison,"said Duhon.

The local Tea Party group did eventually receive the 501 (c)4  status they were seeking.

To hear more from Duhon, look for the Tea Party web extra.

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