Mr. Kelly’s letter didn’t address the reason, but it did reply to another request from Mr. Issa seeking information about the FBI’s contacts with King Street Patriots, one of the tea party groups that applied for tax-exempt status but was stonewalled.
Catherine Engelbrecht, a chief organizer of King Street Patriots, said she felt the government was targeting her after the FBI made repeated inquiries about someone who attended a King Street Patriots meeting.
In its letter to Mr. Issa, the FBI said it contacted the King Street Patriots after receiving a complaint in 2010 that a member of the group had said he wanted to start a revolution and had visited a firing range.
Mr. Kelly said FBI agents checked with the group, which said the man attended a training session but was asked to leave. Mr. Kelly said the group provided an address the man had given, but that address turned out to be false. When the FBI ultimately tracked down the man, he “indicated that his remarks were made in jest.”
“The King Street Patriots were questioned concerning their limited relationship with the individual in question,” Mr. Kelly said in the FBI letter.
But that doesn’t jibe with Ms. Engelbrecht’s recollection, nor with the paper record that was released. In a heavily redacted copy of one of the FBI’s contact reports, which Ms. Engelbrecht obtained, the FBI makes no mention of the individual Mr. Kelly said the agency was investigating. Instead, the report lists the contact as part of “community outreach.”
Ms. Engelbrecht said the FBI made a half-dozen inquiries over the course of a year. She said she also fielded inquiries at her business from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; faced an audit by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of Engelbrecht Manufacturing; and underwent an IRS audit of her personal tax returns.