Conservatives gather downtown as part of nationwide IRS protest

GRETEL DAUGHERTY/The Daily Sentinel—Organizer Kevin McCarney, center, speaks to a crowd of about 30 people Tuesday during a rally to protest the Internal Revenue Service’s handling of applications of conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt, nonprofit status. McCarney spoke on the steps of the Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building in downtown
 Grand Junction.



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GRETEL DAUGHERTY/The Daily Sentinel—Organizer Kevin McCarney, center, speaks to a crowd of about 30 people Tuesday during a rally to protest the Internal Revenue Service’s handling of applications of conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt, nonprofit status. McCarney spoke on the steps of the Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building in downtown
 Grand Junction.

More than 30 people, many of them hiding behind fake glasses, rhetorically thumbed their Groucho Marx noses at the Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday, joining other conservatives around the nation in protesting the agency.

Participants in Grand Junction got an extra snicker, though, as organizer Kevin McCarney reminded them that the defunct Western Slope Conservative Alliance had received an unsolicited shout-out from “Saturday Night Live.”

The rally took place on the steps of the Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building, 400 
Rood Ave.

Rallies took place around the nation as conservative organizations protested the Internal Revenue Service’s failure to act on applications for nonprofit status, stymying many of them during the 2012 presidential campaign.

The Western Slope Conservative Alliance was one of those organizations, McCarney said. After the organization applied for nonprofit status in April 2010, it received no answer from the IRS, he said.

The inability to win IRS approval after 20 months eventually forced the group to reorganize as Freedom!Colorado, a name that McCarney, who serves as chairman and CEO, said he hoped would win nonprofit status.

The Western Slope Conservative Alliance, however, isn’t dead, at least so far as “Saturday Night Live” is concerned.

The opening skit last week featured cast member Keenan Thompson interviewing a member of the Western Slope Conservative Alliance, ostensibly based in Denver. The skit was built around complaints that the IRS was harassing conservative organizations.

The IRS defense that it was flooded with applications doesn’t hold water, McCarney said, because the agency reported receiving 1,730 applications for nonprofit status in 2009 and 1,817 in 2010.

The IRS is to play a major role in the administration of the Affordable Care Act, posing the possibility that decisions will be made on the basis of political affiliation, McCarney said.

McCarney was echoed by Tom Bjorklund, who said his family’s plans to purchase a wheelchair for his mother-in-law fell apart because they were unable to buy it without a prescription and an OK from Medicare.

The family obtained a wheelchair the day his mother-in-law died, Bjorklund said.

McCarney urged participants to take action in Colorado, urging them to be active in school board elections later this year and to help similar organizations around the state to recall legislators in Colorado Springs, Pueblo and the Denver metro area.



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Is it possible that Kevin McCarney is spinning stories to cover his own incompetence? Didn’t you find it unusual that getting not-for-profit status is conflated with the right’s hatred of Obamacare? Am I the only person who sees the clutching at straws? Couldn’t the Sentinel have found a Republican to comment on this story? Or how about a Democrat? Or how about a representative of the IRS? Or how about someone from GJResult/Tea Party, who might know more than most about the WSCA troubles. This is sloppy reporting.

Kudos to the Daily Sentinel for its continuing coverage of local right-wing blowhards –“Conservatives gather downtown as part of nationwide IRS protest”.  Apparently, only some 30+ people and Gary Harmon still take Kevin McCarney – a practiced purveyor and self-appointed “Pied Piper” of pseudo-conservative poppycock – seriously.

Revealingly, the group reportedly reveled at being ridiculed on national television – perhaps still believing that “there is no such thing as bad publicity”.  Just ask Lance Armstrong.  At least McCarney didn’t don colonial period costume (like the purported “tea partier” satirized on Saturday Night Live) or drape himself in the American flag (as he did on April 13, 2013, protesting on “Tax Day”) to assume a false aura of patriotism.

Contrary to Harmon’s reporting – and as evidenced by the activities of both the Western Slope Conservative Alliance (“WSCA”) and “Freedom!Colorado”—the IRS’s failure to more timely “act on applications for non-profit applications” did not “stymy” any “of them during the 2012 presidential campaign”.

Rather, the IRS’s failure to promptly grant or reject suspect applications did not deny those groups their constitutional right to Free Speech or of Assembly – but prevented them from obtaining tax-supported subsidies for their political activity by claiming tax-exempt status (which the WSCA reportedly did anyway) while concealing the identities of their contributors (including “Americans for Prosperity”, a faux “grass roots” fraud).

Moreover, as McCarney (but apparently not Harmon) knows, “the inability to win IRS approval” had nothing to do with the WSCA’s “reorganization” as “Freedom!Colorado”.
The former became a captive of the Mesa County Republican Party and continued to solicit tax-deductible contributions through the “Americans for Prosperity” website.

Given his penchant for dissembling, perhaps it’s time for McCarney to release the WSCA’s 2010 application for tax-exempt status – just to see what was accurately disclosed to the IRS and what wasn’t.

At last, at last! Finally, Gary Harmon and/or the Daily Sentinel have done a story and were able to refrain from calling the rally at the Federal Building something other than a “Tea Party” affair. Whatever the cause of this, the Tea Party welcomes the change.

For four years they have lumped everyone together under that flag even when it has been pointed out that WSCA (under whatever name they may be using at the time) are only an extension of the GOP. WSCA talks the Tea Party talk but they walk the Republican Party walk. Their board members are the “whose who” of the GOP either past or present, including McCarney who was a second vice chair until this year.

As to their problems with the IRS. They were collecting money as if a tax exempt organization and endorsing candidates from the very beginning. They brought it on themselves and will have to face whatever comes down on them. Sadly, their “Saturday Night Live” spot cast a bad light on legitimate conservative groups who have the tea party values and principles.This is apparent to all by reading the above letters from the liberals.

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