- The Washington Times - Friday, January 24, 2014

The Internal Revenue Service has been accused of targeting Hollywood conservatives, demanding to know all the names of members of a right-leaning group, Friends of Abe.

The New York Times reported the group has stayed behind the scenes and secret, mostly out of fear of backlash from movie executives with more liberal leanings. But the IRS has dragged the group from the shadows with high-profile queries about its members’ meetings with 2012 vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, as well as other get-togethers with then-Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter and presidential hopeful Herman Cain.

The group formed a decade ago but has been under fire by the IRS for the past two years, The New York Times reported.

Among some of the reputed members: Actor and charity activist Gary Sinise, Kelsey Grammer and Jon Voight.

Newsmax reported that in 2011, Clint Howard — a conservative actor and the brother of director Ron Howard — said conservatives in Hollywood still have “trepidations” about showing their political leanings because they worry it could damage their acting careers.

“For years, conservative-minded people have been kind of subjected to a lot of — I wouldn’t say bullying, no it’s not bullying,” he said, to Newsmax. “Conservative-minded people have been subjected to a very liberal work place, and it has been frustrating.”

The IRS just recently fielded fire for charges that its employees targeted tea party activists and improperly delayed their nonprofit applications.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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