The uproar over the IRS's targeting of conservative groups seems to be the flip side of earlier administrations, when groups like Greenpeace, the NAACP, and PETA were the agency's favorite targets.

PETA has undergone three expensive and unjust IRS audits, including a 20-month audit during the George W. Bush administration. Each, as verified from Freedom of Information Act materials and as admitted by IRS agents, resulted from the agency bowing to pressure from members of Congress doing the bidding of the meat, research and other industries who were exposed for violating cruelty-to-animals laws through PETA's investigations.

PETA came through each IRS audit with a clean bill of health, but it's a sad day for freedom when social-change advocates are subjected to industry-inspired Congressional inquiries, police surveillance worthy of the East German Stasi, and "homeland security" harassment at airports (for years, I could not re-enter the U.S. without being escorted into a back room, having my bags rummaged through, and being held, sometimes for hours).

With ever more repressive laws being proposed -- such as "ag-gag" bills designed to prevent undercover investigations on factory farms and in slaughterhouses and bills to prevent "interference" with or new regulations regarding hunting and fishing -- anyone who gives a hoot about what this nation once stood for should vigorously object to this new version of "America: Love It or Leave It.



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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

1536 16th St. N.W.

Washington, DC 20036