Unfair and unequal treatment of tea partiers by the taxman is insidious, but it is nothing new. As noted in a report at the Examiner from Nov. 28, 2011, the city of Richmond, Va., spitefully responded to an invoice from the local Tea Party by ordering a tax audit of the protest group.
Some context is required. On Oct. 28, the leadership of the Richmond Tea Party hand-delivered an invoice in the amount of $8,500 to the office of Mayor Dwight Jones. The document itemized costs that group had incurred in three separate Tax Day events at Richmond’s Kanawha Plaza. The Tea Party was seeking reimbursement for fees paid for permits required by the city government, portable toilets, first-aid care, off-duty police officers for security, and event insurance. The date, for those who have already forgotten, coincides with the ascendency of the so-called Occupy movement, which was actively staging its own protests at the same Kanawha Plaza. But unlike the tea partiers, the Occupiers hadn’t paid the city a penny for its services
The purpose of the invoice was to draw attention to the disparate treatment of the Tea Party, which conducts peaceful demonstrations and pays its own way, and the Occupiers, which do neither: The stories of Occupier violence are legion, and the costs of their protests are being absorbed by taxpayers in cities across the country….
Presented with this stark contrast, the mayor had the option (duty?) of telling Occupy Richmond to put up or shut up — to apply for and obtain the needed permits to assemble in a public park and to pay for security, portable toilets, and other essentials.
Instead he opted for plan B. Under the guise of collecting delinquent fees from Richmond Tea Party, Inc., the city’s department of finance notified the group (which has an actual business address) that it is being subject to a comprehensive tax audit. A letter signed by Cynthia Carr, who identifies herself as ‘field auditor,’ requests multiple pieces of documentation, including a financial statement and federal tax return for 2010. Sauce for the goose?
One explanation for this behavior unbecoming an elected official is that the mayor is an Occupy sympathizer. Another equally plausible theory is that the city of Richmond is understandably wary of incurring the wrath of a group that is prone to throwing Molotov cocktails.
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