Last month, Becky Gerritson, president of the Wetumpka Tea Party testified before The House Ways and Means Committee. Gerritson’s testimony provides a glimpse of a citizen’s perspective of being harassed by the IRS over the Party’s application for a 501(c)4 that originated in October 2010.
Below are a few of her comments:
I am not here today as a serf or a vassal. I am not begging my lords for mercy. I am a born free, American woman – wife, mother and citizen – and I’m telling MY government that you have forgotten your place. It is not your responsibility to look out for my well being or monitor my speech. It is not your right to assert an agenda. The posts you occupy exist to preserve American liberty. You have sworn to perform that duty. And you have faltered. The abuses I will discuss today occurred on your watch. It is your responsibility to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
In explaining the “facts of [the] case”, Gerritson described the IRS’ demands that she “found alarming and inappropriate”, including:
- They wanted us to identify our volunteers.
- They wanted to know if any of our donors or volunteers had run or would be running for office in the near future, remember this was an election year, and they want us to identify the office they would be running for.
- They wanted us to provide detailed contents of all speeches or forums, names of speakers, or panels and their credentials.
- Provide copies of the written communication and contents of other forms of communication to legislators.
- Information regarding our voter education activities, including dates, times and locations of our events.
In winding up her testimony, Gerritson went on to explain:
What the government did to our little group in Wetumpka, Alabama is un-American. This isn’t a matter of firing or arresting a few individuals. The individuals who sought to intimidate us were acting as they thought they should in a government culture that has little respect for its citizens.
Many of the agents and agencies of the federal government do not understand that they are servants of the people. They think they are our masters. And they are mistaken.
I’m not interested in scoring political points. I want to protect and preserve the America I grew up in, the America that people cross oceans and risk their lives to become a part of. And I’m terrified that it’s slipping away.