Good morning Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee. My name is Catherine Engelbrecht. I am the Chairwoman of True the Vote, a nonprofit election integrity organization; the Founder of King Street Patriots, a citizen-led liberty group; and President of Engelbrecht Manufacturing.
Thank you for this opportunity to share my story with you today.
It must be made publicly known that across this country citizens just like me are being targeted by an administration willing to take any action necessary to silence opposition.
My life before I spoke out for good government stands in stark contrast to the life I now lead. As a wife, a mother, and small businesswoman working with my husband, raising our children and participating in my church and PTA, the government collected my taxes and left me and my family in peace. But when I helped found and led True the Vote and King Street Patriots, I found myself a target of this federal government.
Target? Isn’t that eliminationist rhetoric?
Shortly after filing IRS forms to establish 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations, an assortment of federal entities – including law enforcement agencies and a Congressman from Maryland, Elijah Cummings – came knocking at my door. In nearly two decades of running our small business, my husband and I never dealt with any government agency, outside of filing our annual tax returns. We had never been audited, we had never been investigated, but all that changed upon submitting applications for the non-profit statuses of True the Vote and King Street Patriots. Since that filing in 2010, my private businesses, my nonprofit organizations, and family have been subjected to more than 15 instances of audit or inquiry by federal agencies.
In 2011, my personal and business tax returns were audited by the Internal Revenue Service, each audit going back for a number of years.
In 2012, my business was subjected to inspection by OSHA, on a select occasion when neither my husband nor I were present, and though the agency wrote that it found nothing serious or significant, it still issued fines in excess of $20,000.
In 2012 and again in 2013 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms conducted comprehensive audits at my place business.
Beginning in 2010, the FBI contacted my nonprofit organization on six separate occasions – wanting to cull through membership manifests in conjunction with domestic terrorism cases. They eventually dropped all matters and have now redacted nearly all my files.
All of these incursions into my affairs began after filing applications for tax-exemption. There is no other remarkable event, no other reason, to explain away how for decades I went unnoticed, but now find myself on the receiving end of interagency coordination into and against all facets of my life, both public and private.
Bear in mind, distinguished ladies and gentlemen of this sub-committee, these events were occuring while the IRS was subjecting me to multiple rounds of abusive inquiries, with requests to provide every Facebook and Twitter entry I’d every posted, questions about my political aspirations, and demands to know the names of every group I’d ever made presentations to, the content of what I’d said, and where I intended to speak for the coming year. The answers to these sorts of questions are not of interest to the typical IRS analyst, but they are of great interest to a political machine that puts its own survival above the civil liberties of any private citizen.
I usually refer to this scandal as the IRS scandal. I stand corrected. While the IRS is the most visible government agency, they are ably assisted by the FEC, FBI, ATF, OSHA and Elijah Cummings.
I also refuse to let a precedent be set that allows Members of Congress, particularly the Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to misrepresent this governing body in an effort to demonize and intimidate citizens. Three times, Representative Elijah Cummings sent letters to True the Vote, demanding much of the same information that the IRS had requested. Hours after sending letters, he would appear on cable news and publicly defame me and my organization.
“On October 12, 2012, the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights issued a report concluding that True the Vote’s poll monitoring efforts in North Carolina appear to be aimed at African American and other minority communities that historically have voted for Democratic candidates,” Cummings wrote. “According to the author, the information in the report demonstrates that your organization has a ‘highly partisan and political agenda to deny African Americans and Latinos, specifically, the right to vote.’”
Cummings said any efforts to intentionally and improperly challenge the rights of minority voters to go to the polling booth “could amount to a criminal conspiracy to deny legitimate voters their Constitutional rights.”
Is it any wonder Barack Obama won reelection with so many levels of government—executive and legislative—bullying the opposition into submission? I’m only surprised he didn’t win with a Saddam Hussein-sized majority (unanimity). Ms. Englebrecht has been put through the liberal fascist wood-chipper.