Tea Party Groups Say IRS Violated Their Rights

Testify about intrusive questions before Congress


Tea Party and other conservative groups on Tuesday accused the U.S. Internal Revenue Service of trampling on their rights, telling lawmakers in an often emotional hearing that they faced a barrage of paperwork and intrusive questions when they sought tax-exempt status.

"This was not an accident. This is a willful act of intimidation intended to discourage a point of view," Becky Gerritson, president of a Tea Party group in Wetumpka, Alabama, tearfully told a House of Representatives panel during Congress' fifth hearing on the IRS scandal since May 17.

Gerritson, one of several representatives of conservative groups who were asked to recount their experiences to lawmakers, described how she and her husband had to seek legal counsel when confronted with questionnaires about their group's donors, communications with legislators and their voter education activities.