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Look who was behind the IRS witchhunt against the NAACP

Remember when then-head of the NAACP, Julian Bond, gave a scathing keynote address against the Bush admin and his faith-based puppets at the organization’s convention in 2004?

Calling the Bush administration’s approach to civil rights “deceptive,” Bond suggested that the White House has “tried an aggressive campaign to seduce black clergy” to support the administration through its faith-based grant campaign.

“The president likes to talk the talk, but he doesn’t walk the walk,” Bond told a crowd of about 3,000 gathered at Milwaukee’s Midwest Airlines Center to hear his introduction to the annual convention. Bond said the administration “at best has neglected civil rights issues, and at worst has been aggressively hostile to them” – buttressing that remark with mention of a recent U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report that was critical of the administration.

…Bond accused black conservatives and blamed foundations that finance conservative groups for rolling back gains for which civil rights leaders have fought. “Having stolen our vocabulary, they also want to steal the just spoils of our righteous war,” he said. “They’ve had a collection of black hustlers and hucksters on their payrolls for more than 20 years, promoting them as a new generation of black leaders.” Reiterating comments from his keynote convention address two years ago about Bush and his black supporters, Bond said, “Like ventriloquists’ dummies, they speak in the puppet master’s voice, but we can see his lips moving, and we can hear his money talk.”

Well, that got the organization in a lot of hot water, and the IRS launched an investigation (on Oct. 8, 2004), reviewing its tax-exempt status.

Yesterday, finally, news of the conclusion of this outlandish, stretched-out investigation was releasedthe NAACP did not violate conditions of its tax exempt status.

All along, the IRS wouldn’t tell the NAACP who filed the complaint or what the specifics were. Take a look at this:

The IRS refused to explain the basis of its investigation for more than a year. The NAACP learned the basis for the examination only after filing four Freedom of Information Act requests (FOIA).

The documents included complaints filed by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), then-Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), Reps. JoAnn Davis (R-Va.) and Larry Combest (R-Texas), then-Reps. Robert Ehrlich (R-Md.) and Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) and political donor Richard Hug. In the interest of ensuring transparency, integrity and fairness in the administration of the tax law, the NAACP will release copies of all the documents provided thus far by request.

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele with now-Gov. Robert Ehrlich.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding