Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Its Not A 1st Amendment Issue

1st Amendment to the Consitution of the United States:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

4th Amendment to the Consitution of the United States:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The Justice Dept's seizure of the phone records of AP reporters did not violate those reporter's 1st Amendment rights. No one at the AP was restrained or restricted in what they can print or say. The JD violated their 4th Amendment rights. If the JD wants to justify the seizure under the Patriot Act, then let them say so up front and defend that in court. Illegal wiretaps and requests for phone records fall under the 4th Amendment, not the 1st.

The IRS did not violate the 1st Amendment rights of anyone associated with a conservative advocacy group. No one was prohibited from associating, and no printing presses were seized. If you want to try and make the case that was the intent, you're gonna need a whistleblower to step forward and say, "We had a meeting. Our superiors told us if we make it harder for these conservative groups to get a tax-exempt staus, they might feel intimidated and stop what they're doing." That aint gonna happen.

They did however, violate numerous Tax Code regulations by releasing personal information they had no business asking for in the first place. They also violated about a half dozen Federal laws regarding privacy and definitely violated the 4th Amendment rights of the people submitting the applications for tax-exempt status and we know it was done for partisan reasons. It was politically motivated.

The IRS decides who is and who is not a tax exempt organization. They have criteria they use depending upon whether you're asking for a c3 or c4 exemption. Most advocacy groups fall under the c4 designation. Groups like CWTT, Soldiers Angels, Wounded Warrior Project, the USO and Fisher House are c3 charities because we take donations and pass that money thru to directly assist veterans and wounded. Gathering of Eagles is a c4 organization because it advocates for veterans rights and lobbies Congress for improvement of legislation affecting veterans and wounded.

The IRS is not guilty of violating TEA Party groups rights, an individual is. Someone had to compile the information and send it to ProPublica. Someone had to hit the SEND button. That someone needs to go to jail and anyone involved in the transfer, anyone who approved the release of the information needs to go to jail.

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