We were disappointed last year when the Justice Department decided that the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups did not warrant criminal prosecution.
What has been dubbed the “2013 IRS Targeting Controversy” prevented Tea Party groups from obtaining tax-exempt status and seriously affected their ability to operate during an election season (this is exactly what the Dems wanted).
Despite clear evidence of illegal activity, former IRS director Lois Lerner (who was largely blamed for the scandal) also escaped unpunished. As I wrote in a previous article, her case closely parallels the Hillary Clinton email scandal.
As reported on Monday, District Judge Reggie Walton has ordered the IRS to resolve all pending applications for tax-exempt status from conservative groups by November 11th.
“The IRS will, at long last, be required to disclose the details of the lawless and unconstitutional Tea Party targeting scheme,” said Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice. Sekulow and his group are representing the 30+ parties suing the IRS for inhibiting Tea Party groups by delaying their tax-exempt applications.
“As a result of Judge Walton’s order, these years-long applications processes are finally concluding, and the organizations are receiving the review and determinations they deserve,” said Sekulow. “This is a major victory.”
“Years-long” is not an exaggeration. As Sekulow explained, Unite in Action and the Albuquerque Tea Party submitted their applications almost 7 years ago. They are still waiting for approval.
In August, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit found that the IRS had not stopped targeting Tea Party and conservative groups. The ruling incited a massive lawsuit that sent the case straight back to the district court.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who by all rights should have been impeached by now, argues that pending applications filed by Tea Party groups had not been processed due to an IRS policy that stops activity on any applications related to litigation.
In addition to demanding the IRS make decisions on pending applications, Walton is also asking the IRS to elaborate on why it thinks the claims of plaintiffs who have already received determinations are pointless in light of the August ruling.
By November 11th, the IRS must explain “why these plaintiffs who have been granted tax-exempt statuses will not experience any negative consequences resulting from the alleged discriminatory targeting scheme employed by the defendants throughout their tenure as a tax-exempt entities,” said Judge Walton.
Author’s Note: While I am glad to see that something is finally being done about this problem, November 11th is too late. The damage has already been done. Tea Party groups were unable to operate fully during an important election year. The responsible parties at they IRS has not been punished for blatant criminal activity. If Hillary Clinton is elected President of the United States next month, this sort of behavior will become the norm, and individuals like Lois Lerner will continue to act against conservative groups with no consequence.