A Satanic group that sponsored a “After School Satan Club” received expedited approval from the IRS to operate as a tax-exempt entity. Calling itself “Reason Alliance” and based in Somerville, Massachusetts, the group operates in Washington State as the Satanic Temple of Seattle.
 
According to Judicial Watch, Reason Alliance sought to establish Satanic organizations on public school campuses in the state of Washington where Christians had created student groups. Judicial Watch found documents that showed that the group was in the process of creating a Satan club at Point Defiance Elementary School in Tacoma WA.
 
Treasury Department documents show that once the Satanic cult applied for tax exemption on October 21, 2014, it received tax exempt status on October 31, 2014. Lilith X. Starr, the director of the Satanic group’s temple in Washington, established the Point Defiance Elementary Satanic with the purpose of fomenting “character development,” according to records obtained by Judicial Watch. In addition, instructors are vetted by the Satanic Temple’s “Executive Ministry.”
 
According to filings presented by the Satanic Temple, its clubs would develop basic critical reasoning, character qualities, problem solving and creative expression, among children ages 5-12. The records also show that Lilith Starr told Tacoma School District Superintendent Carla Santorno that the clubs are led by “caring Satanists." Starr also admitted that the Satanic clubs were conceived in response to the Good News Clubs established by Christians in district schools.
 
The admission that the Satanic clubs were to serve as a counter-weight to Christian groups caused concerns among Tacoma district officials, according to Judicial Watch. In February 2017, Tacoma Schools official Andrea O'Brien-Henley sent an email to colleague Paul Koch that provided a citation from the Satanic Temple’s website, while noting that the Satanists seek to establish their groups only in those school districts where Christian Good News Clubs are present. 
 
O'Brien Henley admitted that it is "odd" the Satanic Temple targets schools with Christian groups.
 
The Satanic Temple’s website says:
 
“How do I start an After School Satan Club in my school district? If there isn’t a chapter of The Satanic Temple near you, but you’re interested in starting and After School Satan Club in your school district, please contact The Satanic Temple. Please keep in mind that the Satanic Temple is not interested in operating After School Satan Clubs in school districts that are not already hosting the Good News Club. However, The Satanic Temple ultimately intends to have After School Satan Clubs operating in every school district where the Good News Club is represented.”
 
In 2013, the IRS revealed that it had selected certain political groups for special scrutiny that had applied for tax-exempt status. Because the IRS choose the groups apparently on the basis of their names or political themes, the agency inspired widespread condemnation and several investigations, including one by the FBI that was ordered by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Initial reports in the media described the groups selected by the IRS as being of conservative political leanings or containing the words “Tea Party” in their titles. Congressional Republicans claimed that liberal and progressive groups triggered a lesser degree of scrutiny. 
 
The Justice Department refused to prosecute Koskinen or his staff for alleged improper scrutiny focused on conservative organizations. The Obama administration was forcefully criticized by Republicans. Just days after the Justice Department closed its investigation, members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) filed a resolution to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
 
The resolution accused Koskinen of failing to prevent the destruction of evidence in allowing the erasure of back-up tapes containing thousands of e-mails written by IRS employee Lois Lerner, who had been accused of improper scrutiny of conservative organizations. Chaffetz said in a statement that Koskinen "failed to comply with a congressionally issued subpoena, documents were destroyed on his watch, and the public was consistently misled. Impeachment is the appropriate tool to restore public confidence in the IRS and to protect the institutional interests of Congress." 
 
The resolution for impeachment has foundered. It was referred to the House Judiciary committee, which held hearings in May and June, 2016. Republican leadership in the House decided not to proceed any further. Then, in December 2016, the House voted to send the question back to the Judiciary Committee. 
 
In a recent editorial, the New York Post called on President Donald Trump to fire Koskinen. The Post wrote: “The IRS just ‘discovered’ another 7,000 emails long sought by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, which is suing the agency over the targeting. The agency continues to insist the targeting was not political but merely a poorly executed, nonpartisan effort at efficiently identifying problematic groups by specific words in their name.
 
“Yet somehow, this ‘mismanagement’ disproportionately affected Tea Party groups.
 
“It’s clear there’ll be no IRS reforms while Koskinen is in office. He’s the No. 1 candidate in Washington for President Trump’s signature line: ’You’re fired.’”

 



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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