NAACP Questions Timing Of IRS Examination Of Tax Exempt Status

On October 29th, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) raised questions about the timing of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) examination of the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. According to the IRS, the NAACP's tax exempt status is being reviewed because of remarks by NAACP Chairman of the Board Julian Bond during the NAACP National Convention last July.

In a letter dated October 8, 2004, the IRS contends that "Bond condemned the administration policies of George W. Bush on education, the economy and the war in Iraq."According to the IRS, Bond allegedly intervened in a political campaign when he made these and other statements during the convention.

As a part of its examination, the IRS has requested a written response to several questions, including: "who authorized the speech"given by Bond. However, the NAACP feels that Bond's remarks fall into the realm of acceptable free speech. Moreover, these are civil rights issues irrespective of what party is in power.

NAACP President and CEO Kweisi Mfume said: "It is regrettable that the Internal Revenue Service would seek to silence the voices of the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization for having done nothing wrong. We take exception to the assault on the NAACP by the IRS and we question the suspicious timing of this action. In over 95 years, Americans of all races and political persuasions have been proud to fight for the ideals and beliefs of justice and fairness that we've held high."

Historically, the NAACP has criticized both Republican and Democratic administrations. Bond said: "The NAACP has always been non-partisan, but that doesn't mean we're non-critical. Only in an Orwellian world would honest disagreement be considered partisan, or honest differences called election interference."

"To announce there must be no criticism of the President, and to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, it is morally treasonous to the American public."

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