Originally published on Advocate.com June 05 2013 2:02 PM ET
Members of six organizations testified to the House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday regarding allegations that the Internal Revenue Service scrutinized antigay and other conservative groups, and even leaked some of those groups' information.
John C. Eastman, the chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, said members of his organization felt "shock and disgust" over the leaking of the group's tax records when plans were under way for a ballot initiative to overturn Maryland's then-new marriage equality law.
"We jealously guard our donors as almost every other nonprofit does, particularly on the issues that we deal with, which are so contentious," he said, according to The Baltimore Sun.
NOM's leaders believe the IRS leaked confidential tax information to the Human Rights Campaign. The HRC then made the information public, days after Gov. Martin O'Malley signed the bill into law. NOM's effort to overturn the law at the ballot box failed 52%-48%.
The Laurens County Tea Party, the Wetumpka Tea Party, the San Fernando Valley Patriots, the Linchpins of Liberty, and the Coalition for Life of Iowa all had members testify before the committee Tuesday. These groups, NOM, and about two dozen more organizations have filed a joint lawsuit against the IRS, handled by the American Center for Law and Justice, according to The Hill.
Several Democratic lawmakers said that liberal groups were also targeted by the IRS, but none were invited to testify.
"Some of my Republican colleagues have been working overtime to try to paint this as a political conspiracy by the White House," said Rep. Joseph Crowley, a Democrat from New York, according to the Sun. "There is no evidence tying this to the White House."