Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa tea party groups protest at IRS office

TAMPA — At first glance, Tuesday's event looked like a Fourth of July celebration.

Decked in red, white and blue and waving American flags, some in the crowd of about 120 people on Columbus Drive wore shirts declaring themselves patriots, proud to be Americans.

But they were angry. Standing in front of the Tampa office of the Internal Revenue Service, they said the agency's recent actions constitute tyranny.

Earlier this month, the IRS acknowledged that it singled out conservative groups, including those affiliated with the tea party, for special scrutiny — activity that last week led to congressional outrage, denunciations by the president and the ouster of the agency's acting commissioner.

According to an inspector general's report, the IRS began the scrutiny in March 2010.

The protesters, some from Tampa 9-12 and other tea party groups, came out to demand change. Some said they want the IRS to be audited. Others want the agency disbanded.

They demanded that President Barack Obama take responsibility and those who led the scrutiny or knew about it to be fired, even jailed.

"This is the tyranny that our forefathers warned us about, and this is the tyranny the tea party warned about, and it needs to stop," said Sharon Calvert, co-founder of the Tampa Tea Party.

The IRS asked for extra security Tuesday at its office at 3848 W Columbus Drive, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security arrived.

The officers did not appear necessary, though, as the group remained peaceful. Most faced away from the IRS toward the road, cheering passing cars that honked in support.

Edward Durham, 55, came out with a yellow "Don't Tread on Me" flag. He wants the federal government to get out of Americans' lives, he said.

"What the IRS did, it's illegal," he said.

Karen Jaroch, who cofounded the Tampa chapter of Glenn Beck's 9–12 group, last week told the Tampa Bay Times that when the group applied for tax-exempt status in 2010, it not only had to complete a 17-page application but was later asked for copies of its educational literature, a breakdown of how members would spend their time and the names of political candidates the group would support.

Speaking over a bullhorn, 57-year-old John Junstrom of Tampa said: "The IRS must stop targeting Christians and tea partiers and patriots. This is tyranny. Obama is targeting whites and Christians.

"Obama hates the tea party and all other patriots and all those who uphold and obey the Constitution."

When he announced "abolish the IRS!" the crowd cheered.

Junstrom said because of recent events, he is worried. He believes the government is covering up facts regarding the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. installation in Benghazi, Libya.

Another concern of those at Tuesday's event: drones. One brought a sign that read "Don't drone me, bro."

"I believe my country is in trouble," Junstrom told a reporter.

Then he got back on his bullhorn. "Obama has to go. Obama knows everything."

Times staff writer Richard Danielson contributed to this report.

Tampa tea party groups protest at IRS office 05/21/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 11:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Southeast Seminole Heights holds candlelight vigil for victims' families and each other

    News

    TAMPA — They came together in solidarity in Southeast Seminole Heights, to sustain three families in their grief and to confront fear, at a candlelight vigil held Sunday night in the central Tampa neighborhood.

    A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  2. It's not just Puerto Rico: FEMA bogs down in Florida, Texas too

    HOUSTON — Outside Rachel Roberts' house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads "Waiting on FEMA."

    Ernestino Leon sits among the debris removed from his family’s flood-damaged Bonita Springs home on Oct. 11. He has waited five weeks for FEMA to provide $10,000 to repair the home.
  3. McConnell says he's awaiting Trump guidance on health care

    STERLING, Va. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he's willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor if President Donald Trump makes clear he supports it.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “not certain yet” on what Trump wants.
  4. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.
  5. Jones: Where are the difference-makers on the Bucs defense?

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — They can't tackle. They can't cover. They can't pressure the quarterback, let alone sack him.

    Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) scrambles past Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (98) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]