Kevin Kookogey, founder of the educational group Linchpins of Liberty, was ordered to reveal to the IRS a list of all the high school and college students the group had trained or planned to train, the UK Daily Mail reported Wednesday.
According to the Daily Mail, when the group filed for a tax-exempt status, it received a list of 95 questions in three parts. Not only did the IRS demand a list of all students trained by the group, it wanted copies of the training material that was used, including a copy of a presentation given to the Vanderbilt College Republicans.
“Can you imagine my responsibility to parents if I disclosed the names of their children to the IRS?” Kookogey asked.
It would be “an impossible question to answer fully and truthfully,” he told the Daily Mail, “without disclosing the names of anyone I ever taught, or would ever teach, including students.”
Unlike other groups that have been targeted, Linchpins of Liberty is not affiliated with the Tea Party, nor does it have the word “patriot” in its title.
The organization describes itself as “an American leadership development enterprise” that mentors high school and college students, placing an emphasis on Western civilization and an old-style core curriculum.
“Our ideas are opposed to the Obama administration, but we’re not tea party,” he said.
As a result, the group lost a $30,000 grant when Kookogey couldn’t tell his donor that the group had earned its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
In December 2011, the IRS told Kookogey they were “waiting on guidance from our superiors as to your organization and similar organizations” and assured him that an answer on his tax-exempt status would be made in about eight weeks.
But eight weeks later, he received a questionnaire that was “virtually identical” to those sent to other groups.
Kookogey said the actions taken by the IRS were “unethical, unconstitutional, and unfair,” and told the Daily Mail in an email that “[w]e were targeted by the IRS based on our political beliefs and the content of our speech.”
On Monday, the American Center for Law & Justice demanded that the IRS grant tax-exempt status to 10 organizations, including Linchpins of Liberty.
“If that does not occur by Friday, we will advise our clients of their right to sue the IRS for the redress of their grievances,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the ACLJ.
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