The IRS's internal watchdog is reviewing allegations that the agency improperly audited a Tea Party owner of a small Virginia farm whose repeated clashes with a local environmental group and the county over zoning laws have made her a cause celebre for property-rights advocates.
Martha Boneta, who runs a 64-acre organic farm in Fauquier County's tight-knit historic hunt country, has spent the last few years tangling with the Piedmont Environmental Council over the group's access to her property, which she bought in 2006. The PEC wants regular access to the land to monitor adherence to a conservation easement intended to limit commercial activities and safeguard the historic and scenic value of the land.
Boneta, who considers herself a Tea Party Republican and held a fundraiser on her farm for former conservative U.S. Senate hopeful Jamie Radtke in early 2012, also has locked horns with Fauquier County officials in recent years. The county has levied thousands of dollars in fines against her for selling fruits and vegetables on the property during the weekend without a proper license even though she held a county-approved license for a "retail farm shop" and for holding unlicensed events, including a birthday party for her best friend's child and a pumpkin carving, without a permit and a site plan.