According to the Hollywood Reporter:
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz will visit Hollywood's not-so-secret group of conservatives called Friends of Abe next month, and he tells The Hollywood Reporter he will address what he considers is a government effort to intimidate artists who criticize President Barack Obama and his policies.
FOA, a group of about 2,000 entertainment industry workers, likes to remain under the radar. But The New York Times on Jan. 22 revealed the group's two-year-long effort to be recognized as a tax-free charity organization. One thing the IRS has wanted from FOA is its membership list, and Cruz says the group has been right to refuse such a request, which he says stems from "an abuse of power."
"FOA should respond to the IRS as it would to any McCarthyite request for information," Cruz says in an interview. "The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that Americans have freedom of association and that groups should not be forced to reveal the names of members, because that information could be abused for political gain. There has already been an incident where the IRS leaked that kind of information about a group."
Cruz says the IRS' treatment of FOA is part of a pattern that includes the arrests of Dinesh D’Souza, who made 2016: Obama’s America, and Nakoula Nakoula, whose video, Innocence of Muslims, was blamed for causing the riots in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead. After the Benghazi attack, Nakoula spent several months in prison on charges unrelated to the video. And D'Souza, who is expected to release his next film, America, on July 4, is accused of violating campaign finance laws by raising more money than he should have for a friend who sought a U.S. Senate seat in New York.
"It's a remarkably selective prosecution considering Obama raised millions of dollars under similar circumstances and donors merely faced civil fines while D'Souza is charged with felony violation of federal law," says Cruz. "There is a pattern of targeting filmmakers who speak out politically.
"Authorities have been remarkably selective in prosecuting D’Souza; the IRS' treatment of FOA is consistent with what this administration has done to Tea Party and conservative groups; and with Benghazi, which we now know was a terrorist attack, the administration's first instinct was to blame a filmmaker. This administration locked him up. That should be very troubling to the filmmaking community." . . .