Tea party leaders to hold town hall meeting in wake of Cincinnati IRS scandal

DELHI TWP., Ohio - Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, will join area Republican Congressmen Steve Chabot and Brad Wenstrup and tea party leaders at a town hall meeting on the IRS targeting scandal at 7 p.m. Wednesday at The Farm, at 239 Anderson Ferry Road, in Delhi Township.

The event, organized by the SouthWest Cincinnati tea party, will include local, state and national tea party leaders. George Brunemann, who says he was personally targeted by the IRS, is one of the organizers and speakers.

Other speakers include Jenny Beth Martin from TEA Party Patriots, Greg Fettig from FreedomWorks, Tom Zawistowski from the Portage County TEA Party and We the People Convention, and Justin Binik-Thomas, one of the founders of the Cincinnati tea party.

The event will be webcast live at http://www.swctp.org/8-events/2-irs-intimidation-are-you-next

"The IRS attack on conservative groups and individuals has an impact on all Americans, not just those currently targeted. We need to find a way to end the habitual use of the IRS as a political weapon by both political parties once and for all," Brunemann said.

Brunemann said he and his wife were audited and his wife's business was audited after they started the SouthWest Cincinnati tea party.

"The IRS agent who told us we were being audited said it was directly because of our involvement with the tea party. She was almost apologetic," Brunemann said.

The Cincinnati IRS office is at the center of the agency scandal over the targeting of tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny in their applications for tax-exempt status. The IRS admits that Cincinnati agents singled out groups with "Tea Party," "Patriots" or "9/12 Project" in their name. The practice started in March 2010 and lasted for 18 months, according to an inspector general's  audit.

The Cincinnati IRS office determines which organizations are qualified to be tax-exempt. The IRS required targeted groups to provide reams of additional information and to wait more than two years before getting their status approved.

Binik-Thomas' name came up in an IRS questionnaire to the Liberty Township tea party when it applied for tax-exempt status.

Brunnemann and Binik-Thomas have spoken to lawmakers on Capitol Hill about their incidents with the IRS.

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