LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- Crediting Sen. Mitch McConnell for sounding a warning on Internal Revenue Service abuse of tea party groups, a prominent national tea party organization
endorsed McConnell's re-election on Tuesday.
"With the new revelations that the IRS has been targeting Tea Party groups, we need Senator McConnell more than ever," said Todd Cefaratti, founder of TheTeaParty.net.
The endorsement is the latest victory for McConnell to secure his right flank as some tea party activists in Kentucky openly ponder a primary challenge to the five-term senator in the 2014
"Senator McConnell's continued support of spending cuts, protecting the second amendment, and standing up for the Constitution, especially his stalwart defense of freedom of speech, makes him an indispensable ally of conservatives in the Senate," Cefaratti said. "We are proud to follow Senator Rand Paul's lead and endorse Senator McConnell's leadership in the Senate for another six years."
Paul, who galvanized a libertarian base with tea party fervor to win the 2010 U.S. Senate primary against McConnell's endorsed candidate, disclosed he was endorsing McConnell several months
ago and in March told WHAS11 that he was discouraging a tea party challenge.
McConnell and Paul appeared jointly at a tea party rally last summer where Paul credited him with leading the charge against "Obamacare" in the U.S. Senate.
"(McConnell) was sounding the alarm about the government's assault on our First Amendment rights years ago, even when it fell on deaf ears." said Niger Innis, the Chief Strategist of TheTeaParty.net.
Excerpts of a forthcoming Inspector General report reveal that since as early as 2010, IRS officials have applied extra scrutiny to organizations whose names or mission statements suggested an affiliation with conservative or tea party causes.
In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute last June, McConnell warned of IRS abuse of conservative groups.
"Earlier this year, dozens of Tea Party-affiliated groups across the country learned what it was like to draw the attention of the speech police when they received a lengthy questionnaire from the IRS demanding attendance lists, meeting transcripts, and donor information," McConnell said in the speech. "One of the group's leaders described the situation this way: '[groups like ours] either drown ... in unnecessary paper work ... or you survive, and give them everything they want, only to be hung.'"
"We all owe Sen. McConnell a debt for his vision and courage. With support from TheTeaParty.net's hundreds of thousands of supporters and grassroots activists, we are confident that Senator McConnell will be back in Washington next January, fighting on behalf of our Constitution," Innis continued.