In further evidence of the Internal Revenue Service’s continuing bias against conservative organizations, the taxing agency denied nonprofit status to two tea party groups that had been in the waiting and pending pile for seven years.
American Center for Law and Justice, which has filed suits against the IRS for its lengthy delays in determination of nonprofit applications from tea party groups, said the hold-ups are part and parcel of the agency’s outright bias against conservative organizations, and its use of position and power to control right-leaning voices in the advocacy market.
Since 2013, the ACLJ has filed suits against the IRS on behalf of 41 conservative groups seeking 501(c)(4) “social welfare” tags, contending the agency has illegally targeted those applications for delay that contain phrases like “tea party” and “patriot.” Some of those groups faced additional scrutiny from the IRS during their waiting period, including burdensome audits and costly demands for paperwork and organizational documents.
From the New American:
“Today, the ACLJ represents 38 groups in federal court in the case against the IRS. Additionally, the agency has been named in several other lawsuits over its targeting of conservative groups, including a class action suit led by NorCal Tea Party Patriots.
“Last month, the ACLJ secured an important victory when District Judge Reggie Walton ordered that the IRS stop delaying determinations on outstanding tax-exempt applications of Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations and gave the agency 30 days to comply. Judge Walton also determined that the IRS must disclose the details of its scheme to target Tea Party organizations.
“This includes answering questions regarding the determination process prior to the targeting, how and why the targeting began, how the applications were treated during the targeting, and what the agency is doing to prevent further retaliation or discrimination.”
But now, after seven years of waiting, the IRS has denied the tax exempt status to the Albuquerque Tea Party and to the Tri Cities Tea Party from Washington.
“It is clear that we still have an IRS that is corrupt and incapable of self-correction,” said ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow, Newmax reported.
Sekulow asked a federal judge in the District of Columbia to rule the IRS violated the groups’ First Amendment rights.
The Albuquerque Tea Party first applied for the exemption in December 2009.
Two other groups, including the Texas Patriots Tea Party, that are still in the IRS “pending” category, are part of the ACLJ’s class action suit against the agency. The IRS did approve one conservative outlet, United in Action from Michigan.
The IRS has already admitted to a court earlier this year it did target up to 400 tea party-type groups for additional scrutiny. The Department of Justice in 2015 cleared the agency of wrongdoing, however.
“Ineffective management is not a crime,” Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik said in a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee at the time. “The Department of Justice’s exhaustive probe revealed no evidence that would support a criminal prosecution. What occurred is disquieting and may necessitate corrective action — but it does not warrant criminal prosecution.”