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Journalists fight IRS in new FOIA suit

Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 04/30/1999 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled

On the heels of their civil lawsuit
against the Internal Revenue Service, journalists for the Western
Journalism Center, parent company of WorldNetDaily, filed another
lawsuit against the agency after the agency refused to disclose all the
documents requested by the journalists in their Freedom of Information
Act request.

The journalists initially filed their FOIA request on July 18, 1997,
in an effort to obtain IRS documents concerning the audit of the Western
Journalism Center in 1996. On October 20, 1997, the IRS responded to the
journalists’ request, but they failed to turn over all the documents
that were requested.

The attorney for the journalists is Judicial Watch Chairman Larry
Klayman. Klayman’s Judicial Watch is a
legal watchdog that currently has five lawsuits against the White House
for such affairs as Chinagate and Filegate.

Klayman said that it is his intention to ask the Court to order the
IRS to conduct an immediate turnover of the Center’s entire file to the
journalists. He commented that the IRS has no legal authority to detain
any of the Center’s files and believes that the journalists will get
the files
that were requested.

In a related lawsuit
against the IRS, Landmark Legal Foundation and its president, Mark
Levin, filed a FOIA suit against the IRS in their investigation of
politically-motivated audits such as the audit of the Western Journalism
Center. A survey done by the Western Journalism Center revealed that at
least 20
non-profit organizations “unfriendly” to the Clinton administration had
faced IRS audits since 1993.

Although Landmark has been stonewalled in their efforts to obtain IRS
files leading to the names of those individuals responsible for the
political audits, Klayman said the Western Journalism Center case should
go forward because the journalists are asking for information on behalf
of themselves. They aren’t asking for third party information, as is the
case in the Landmark suit.

Once the journalists have possession of their files, Klayman said
that he will be able to show that the audit the journalists endured is
the worst-case scenario of all the people and entities that were audited
for political reasons.

Speaking about the new suit against the IRS, Klayman said, “This case
goes hand-in-hand with the other case that the Western Journalism Center
filed against the IRS for civil rights violations.”

The “other case” that Klayman is referring to is the civil case filed
against the IRS during May of last year in which the journalists allege
that the IRS infringed on their First and Fourth rights during the 1996
audit. The journalists further allege that the audit was politically
motivated and quote the IRS agent who was directing the audit, Thomas
Cederquist, who said that the audit was a “political case” and that “the
decisions were being made at the national level.”

The journalist’s civil case is currently in the process of
appeals.

Although the IRS has tried to conjure up various legal reasons as to
why they can’t hand over all of the documents that the journalists are
requesting in the FOIA suit, Klayman said that, in reality, they’re
trying to cover something up.

“They’re trying to hide who was behind the audits,” said Klayman. “We
believe that Hillary Clinton and her friends were behind the audit,
particularly since her good friend (Margaret Milner Richardson) was the
IRS commissioner at the time.”

Klayman indicated that along with the two current cases the
journalists have against the IRS, a third case is possible because the
journalists have filed new FOIA requests. However, only time will tell.
The IRS still has time to respond to the new requests.


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