(Lebanon, PA) – The Constitutional Organization Of Liberty (COOL), one of Pennsylvania’s leading educational organizations, has confirmed that it may have been among those groups which the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted for additional scrutiny because of their focus on the US Constitution.
“Based upon all of the information that has come to light in the last few days, we believe that COOL was purposely targeted by the IRS for purely political reasons, which resulted in an unnecessary and burdensome delay in COOL securing its tax-exempt status,” said Mark Thomas, Chairman for COOL.
Thomas said he is convinced the IRS targeted COOL because of its focus on Constitutional education and their emphasis on interpretation of the Constitution based upon the original intent of the Founding Fathers.
“No one has a loving place in their heart for the IRS, but it’s outrageous to think that a federal agency, which is supposed to keep politics out of its actions, resorted to picking and choosing who should be put under the microscope based upon perceived political affiliations,” he said.
“And why deliberately antagonize people who simply want to promote America’s founding documents? Doesn’t the IRS have enough problems with public relations without playing games like this?”
Robert Courtright, Vice Chairman of COOL echoed Thomas’ concerns about the actions of the IRS.
“When political interests start utilizing the Internal Revenue Service to target groups and individuals with differing views and philosophy’s simply validates the necessity of a limited government as advocated by our nation’s founders,” he said.
COOL originally submitted its request for tax-exempt status in August of 2011, but as of December 2012 – and two IRS specialists later – they still had not received their exemption. But COOL had responded to various requests for additional information, and in some instances, was asked to provide the same information multiple times.
And once the tax-exempt status was granted by the IRS at the beginning of January, COOL still experienced difficulties, as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania then requested a status for COOL, having been advised by the IRS that the tax-exempt status had been delayed, which created additional paperwork headaches.
According to Thomas, the delays caused by the IRS jeopardized potential fundraising opportunities, which have caused some setbacks in COOL’s efforts to maintain steady growth over the past two years.
A number of other targeted groups have indicated that they are planning on pursuing legal action against the IRS. When asked if COOL was considering any legal action, Thomas said that they have made an inquiry with their own legal counsel and are currently weighing their options.