Conservatives gather downtown as part of nationwide IRS protest
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.