A Texas judge has ruled to strip a Tea Party-aligned group of its non-profit status. The judge ruled that the group, King Street Patriots (KSP), was actually a political action committee (PAC) for engaging in anti-voter fraud efforts.
In reality, the True the Vote campaign is separate from KSP; while both were founded by Tea Party activist Catherine Engelbrecht, the two entities operate separately. “Everyone labels us as the same organization and I think they do that because it’s a political maneuver to creates the impression that the facts are other than what they actually are,” says Catherine Englebrecht, the founder of both organizations. “If we were to argue this on the facts they wouldn’t have a case.” Engelbrecht said that although she is the founder of both groups, they have acted completely apart from one another. “We’re taking a number of actions to make sure that it’s clear the groups operate independently from one another, which they always have.”
The Democratic Party has charged that True the Vote made unlawful political contributions to the Texas Republican Party by working with the party to train poll watchers and by holding candidate forums that were limited to GOP candidates. “Neither group has ever given a political campaign contribution to a political candidate or party,” said Engelbrecht.
“King Street Patriots has on occasion allowed Republican candidates and officials to come speak–which they can do as a 501(c)(4)–but True the Vote has not.” True the Vote fought the Democratic Party’s lawsuit in a counterclaim by challenging several Texas campaign finance laws related to campaign contributions and political action committees.
Democrats have reportedly been targeting Tea Party groups for harassment since their emergence in 2010. The Texas-based judge has deep, overt ties to the Democratic Party. Deitz has been labeled “legendary” by Texas Democrats. In 2009, the Travis County Democratic online newsletter wrote that, “Dietz’s knowledge of court history in Travis County runs deep, and so does his commitment to the Democratic Party.” The Tea Party group is being represented by Hiram Sasser of the Liberty Institute, who promises to appeal. Meanwhile, Democrats seem to be pleased with their effort to undermine the group. Others have come to the aid of the Tea Party groups in general in this regard:
“There’s been quite a few changes in election law since the Democratic Party filed its lawsuit,” said Hiram Sasser, an attorney with the Liberty Institute, the Plano-based nonprofit legal firm representing the King Street Patriots. “Those changes … have crystallized that many ordinances the Democratic Party is trying to enforce are unconstitutional. Obviously, the court did not agree.”
[Sasser] said Liberty Institute, on behalf of King Street Patriots, will appeal.
Chad Dunn, attorney for the Texas Democratic Party, said that the court’s ruling meant the King Street Patriots would be ordered to reveal its political activities and to pay the plaintiffs’ economic damages equal to twice the amount of the Patriots’ expenditures and contributions.
Recently, popular conservative talk radio host Mark Levin sent a letter to the Treasury Department asking for an investigation into the IRS for perceived Tea Party harassment.
Engelbrecht says the case will be appealed. “The first judgment was unfortunate, but not at all unexpected. We look forward to the opportunity to appeal.”
Brandon Darby, Jeff Shapiro, and Dan Riehl contributed to this report.
Courtesy of the BREITBART EMPIRE