From Sun Oct 31 07:15:09 2004
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 2004 20:46:24 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: [NYTr] Weekend News Summary from RHC—Oct 30, 2004
Article: 194844
To: undisclosed-recipients: ;

USA's Oldest Civil Rights Group Investigated after anti-Bush Speech

Radio Havana Cuba, 30 Octoer 2004

Washington, October 30 (RHC)—The US's Internal Revenue Service has informed the country's oldest and largest civil rights organization that it is investigating whether the group improperly intervened in a political campaign when it posted on its website a speech by its chairman that condemned the Bush administration's policies. At issue is a July speech delivered by Julian Bond, chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the NAACP, during the organization's 95th annual convention in Philadelphia.

Bond said that the NAACP has always been nonpartisan, but that doesn't mean that it's noncritical, adding that for as long as the organization has existed, whether Democrats or Republicans have occupied the White House, they've spoken truth to power. He then went on to criticize the administration's positions on affirmative action, the war in Iraq, civil rights and the economy. He said: They write a new constitution for Iraq and ignore the Constitution here at home. Bond continued: If a president lies about having an affair, they say, ‘Impeach him!’ If a president lies about going to war, they say, ‘Reelect him!’ Speaking about the 2000 election, he said activists must guarantee that the irregularities, suppression, nullification and outright theft of black votes that happened on that election day never, ever happen again.

The NAACP could lose its tax-exempt status or face a fine if the IRS decides it engaged in political activity. Under scrutiny over its targeting of the organization, the IRS issued a statement claiming that some 60 charities, churches, and other tax-exempt groups are being investigated for potentially breaking federal rules that bar them from participating in political activity—regardless of which political party that activity is deemed to support.

But the Washington-based watchdog group OMB Watch just published a new report asserting that that there is a growing pattern of intimidation and suppression of free-speech and advocacy rights of those whose points of view differ from the administration. The report describes the experience of a dozen other nonprofit organizations that criticize the government which have been subjected to retaliatory audits, funding cuts and similar actions, by the IRS and other federal agencies.