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NAACP says it refused IRS request for documents

Lawyers for association say investigation is politically motivated
NAACP chairman Julian Bond says his organization has criticized and praised presidents since the term of Theodore Roosevelt.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Julian Bond

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Lawyers for the NAACP say their client will not supply documents the IRS has requested as part of an investigation into a political speech given last year by the group's chairman.

The lawyers claim the investigation is politically motivated.

The Internal Revenue Service is investigating whether a July 2004 speech by Julian Bond violates rules banning political speeches by tax-exempt groups, according to a letter from the law firm Caplin & Drysdale.

Bond's remarks at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's national convention were critical of President Bush.

The IRS, citing a policy of confidentiality, refused Monday to confirm or dispute the group's claim it is under investigation. The NAACP revealed in October that it was being investigated.

In rejecting an IRS request, attorneys for the NAACP said, "Mr. Bond criticized both political parties at points in his speech," and the comments were part of a "long-standing practice of advocating positions in the interest of minorities."

In his speech, which came during the presidential campaign, Bond said Republicans "appealed to the dark underside of American culture," and " operate a perpetual-motion attack machine and squeal like stuck pigs if you answer back."

In a January 27 letter to the IRS, lawyers for the Baltimore-based civil rights group said that the agency has acted without cause and that "the intention was to chill appropriate voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts."

In a written statement obtained by CNN, Bond said, "We've criticized, condemned and/or praised every president since Theodore Roosevelt and we'll continue to speak truth to power."

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