It’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you.

Nearly 500 groups applying for tax-exempt status have spoken out against the Internal Revenue Service for abusing its power, intimidating groups that were aiming to educate citizens on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and their civic duty to hold government accountable.

It began in March 2010, when an IRS manager in Cincinnati began a bureaucratic filibuster.

Applications that contained the phrases “tea party,”  “government spending,” “government debt,” “taxes,”  “make America a better place to live,” “patriots,” and “9/12” were isolated from other applications and subjected to extra paperwork and inquiries, delaying some approvals by as much as 1,138 days. Targeted groups were instructed to disclose hundreds of pages of private information, including the names of volunteers, donors, and even relatives of volunteers; résumés for each governing group member; printouts of websites and social-media content, and book reports of the clubs’ suggested reading materials.

This wasn’t standard protocol—it was opposition research. The IRS abused its power, bullying groups of citizens who didn’t have the financial and legal resources to fight back and violating their First Amendment right to assemble freely and criticize the federal government.

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