THE story of Catherine Englebrecht of Richmond, Texas, should put to rest any suggestion that the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups was simply the work of overzealous or confused low-level staffers in Cincinnati. It’s a story that should give the willies to any American, regardless of political bent.
Engelbrecht and her husband own a small manufacturing business. Through the years, Engelbrecht developed an interest in public policy. She acted on it by forming two groups, called True the Vote and King Street Patriots. The former seeks to ensure the integrity of elections by, among other things, working to clear voting rolls of people who have died.
In July 2010, Engelbrecht sought tax-exempt status from the IRS — and her world started to get turned upside down because, as Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan put it, “The U.S. government came down on her with full force.”
In December of that year, the FBI came to her home to ask about a person who had attended a King Street Patriots function. The following month, in January 2011, the FBI asked more questions and the IRS audited her business tax returns. The FBI came knocking again in May 2011, about King Street Patriots.