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IRS loses round 1 in political audit case

WASHINGTON — Landmark Legal Foundation has won a victory in federal court in the first round of its lawsuit to uncover politically motivated audits by the Internal Revenue Service, announced President Mark Levin.

Federal District Judge Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. issued a summary judgment ruling for Landmark rejecting the Internal Revenue Service’s attempt to force the non-profit foundation to pay the agency’s expenses in searching for information about the tax audits of numerous conservative and libertarian organizations and other critics of the Clinton administration.

“The IRS attempted to block Landmark’s access to public information about the agency’s audits of several conservative and libertarian public interest groups by demanding tens of thousands of dollars to search IRS files,” explained Levin. “The purpose of this demand was to derail Landmark’s nearly two-year effort to get to the bottom of the IRS’ seemingly political and partisan audits.”

Landmark filed its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in June, 1997, after the IRS refused to respond to the foundation’s original request in January, 1997. Waivers of FOIA processing fees are normally granted by federal agencies as a matter of course to 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations such as Landmark.

“This is an extraordinary legal victory — a rare defeat for the IRS. I’m now looking forward to the court addressing the real issues of our suit,” explained Levin. “Hopefully, the court will finally order the IRS to turn over all documents showing any politically motivated requests for audits of conservative and libertarian nonprofit organizations.”

Among the more than 20 organizations that have been audited by the IRS during the Clinton administration are: The National Rifle Association, the Heritage Foundation, Concerned Women for America, the National Review, American Spectator and the Western Journalism Center, the parent company of WorldNetDaily.