Ann Maher May 13, 2013, 5:34pm

A local Constitution study club whose founder often is critical of federal government overreach may have been a target of the Internal Revenue Service in an unfolding scandal rocking the agency.

Tad Armstrong, who formed Earn It, Learn It or Lose It (ELL) to combat ignorance of laws and the legal system, wrote in a Facebook post on Monday that the IRS rejected the group’s application for tax exempt status in December 2011, a year after it was submitted.

He said ELL’s application was rejected “for no legitimate reason.”

The first ELL club started in Edwardsville in 2005. Following its success, more clubs – which study U.S. Supreme Court decisions – have formed in Glen Carbon, Granite City, Alton, Highland and one at Edwardsville High School.

Armstrong is an Edwardsville attorney and writer. He authored “It’s OK to say ‘God:’ Prelude to a Constitutional Renaissance,” and provides commentary for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Leading up to the passage of the Affordable Health Care for America Act, or Obamacare, he frequently criticized the nationalization of health care.

In January 2010, Armstrong wrote a letter to the Record criticizing the Obama Administration.

“Over one million of this Nation’s soldiers surely did not die to enable us to voluntarily surrender the freedoms they preserved with that ultimate price,” he wrote. “Those freedoms are guaranteed in the Constitution and will be there for our descendants unless the answer to the question of ‘who cares’ is ‘no one.’

“That is what motivates me. I just cannot dishonor the blood of their free gift to me and mine by remaining silent while this Administration transforms our Country into something it was never intended to be.”

National news coverage on Monday has been dominated by the IRS controversy in which high level agency personnel acknowledged that conservative groups were targeted for special scrutiny when they applied for tax exempt status.

“I was and will continue to be critical of this out of control government that exceeds constitutional bounds with no thought to oaths taken to the American people,” Armstrong wrote in his Facebook posting.

“The IRS and this administration doesn't want you to be educated on the Constitution,” Armstrong wrote. “All of you who have been sleeping, have you lost any rational concept of freedom?

“Me today, you tomorrow. Oh, and have you heard. The Justice Department is enforcing ‘speech codes’ on college campuses! Wake up! This isn't the America We the People commissioned.”

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