The IRS, which has been in trouble for weeks now for targeting conservative, Christian and Jewish organizations seeking tax-exempt status with invasive and probably illegal questions, still is stalling, charges a legal team in the battle.
The federal tax agency had offered an “expedited review” if the groups would agree to “an arbitrary 60/40 standard” requiring them to devote 60 percent of their time and expenditures to activities promoting social welfare and limit their political activity to 40 percent or less.
“The IRS created this standard out of thin air in an effort to placate Americans who have been unlawfully and unconstitutionally targeted by the IRS because of their political beliefs,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice.
“This so-called solution is deeply flawed and does nothing to address and correct the real problem at the IRS: a pervasive and systematic assault on conservative organizations. The IRS remains an agency incapable of self-governance or self-correction. Our federal lawsuit is moving forward to stop this abusive targeting scheme and to hold those responsible for this disturbing conduct accountable,” he said.
The IRS discrimination has been well-documented. One IRS official pleaded the Fifth and declined to respond to questions from Congress, but others in the agency have admitted to cases cited by conservative groups who were told, for example, they had to reveal the content of members’ prayers or make promises about what they would or would not say.
The attacks started before the 2012 presidential election and limited the effectiveness of nearly 500 activist organizations as Barack Obama and his liberal agenda rolled to victory.
Now the ACLJ is representing several dozen of the organizations in a legal case against the IRS.
It was in that case that the IRS offered to address some of the pending applications, which have been on hold for years, if the arbitrary standard would be accepted.
In a letter Wednesday to IRS Senior Litigation Counsel Grover Hart III, Sekulow said: “As the IRS correspondence clearly states, the 60/40 percentage representations which you propose to impose upon our clients in order for them to be eligible for the expedited process are not legal standards defined by applicable statutes or regulations. These percentages are merely safe harbor provisions the IRS has crafted in response to the problems that have been created by its own admitted misconduct.”
The letter addressed the cases of just seven of the 41 clients represented by the ACLJ. But the ACLJ said: “Respectfully, six of these seven clients have answered all questions they are constitutionally obligated to answer. … Consequently, we have been instructed by our clients to reject the IRS’s offer for expedited review on the basis you have proposed.”
Sekulow continued: “Respectfully, because these seven clients have been awaiting determination for years and have complied with all legitimate requests for additional information, we request that the IRS complete its review of their applications and make a final determination immediately.”
The law firm officials say it would respond on behalf of the seventh client later.
The ACLJ said the seven organizations have been awaiting their 501(c)(4) status for more than 645 days, and in one case, it is 1,297 days.
The groups are Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriots in Arizona, Allen Area Patriots in Texas, Laurens County Tea Party in South Carolina, North East Tarrant Tea Party in Texas, Myrtle Beach Tea Party in South Carolina, Albuquerque Tea Party in New Mexico and the Acadiana Patriots in Louisiana.
The lawsuit against the IRS alleges that the Obama administration has been violating the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and breaking the Administrative Procedure Act in addition to violating various rules and regulations.
It asks that the court issue a declaratory judgment that the IRS “unlawfully delayed and obstructed the organizations’ applications” for tax status determinations.
And it alleges those actions were based on unconstitutional standards and “impermissibly disparate treatment.”
Further, the legal claim asks for an injunction to protect the groups and their officers and directors from further IRS abuse.
The 41 groups come from 22 states and include 19 organizations that got tax-status notifications after lengthy delays. But 17 still are pending. Five gave up because of the frustrations of the IRS targeting.
The IRS claimed the targeting scheme originated with a couple of rogue IRS agents in the Cincinnati, Ohio, office and that the abuse had been stopped.
But the ACLJ said the practice was traced to Washington.
The IRS also has faced criticism over lavish spending at conventions, shady contracts, actual censorship of targeted groups, a real “enemies list” and the exposure of thousands of taxpayers’ personal Social Security numbers.
WND has been following the story, through the corruptions, the scandals, and now the call for the abolition of the IRS.
Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots told WND that “the discrimination and targeting the IRS engaged with U.S. citizens shows that it is too big and too powerful.”
The tea party activist says political talk is not enough.
“It is time to reform the IRS and the tax code (because) there have been three Taxpayer Bill of Rights passed since the 1980s and yet none of those actually protected the Bill of Rights. It is time to look at repealing the 16th Amendment and replacing the income tax with a tax that is fixed and can never be used as a political weapon again.”
Public opinion now heavily favors the abolition of the Internal Revenue Service. Ending the IRS has been the subject of many cable news shows this week and shows no sign of relenting.
A Wenzel Poll recently found a solid majority of Americans want the IRS to go the way of the dinosaur. The poll showed there is a reasonable amount of support among Democrats (about one-third) and independents (two-thirds), and that most Republicans (two-thirds) support the idea.
The telephone survey was done June 27-July 1 and has a margin of error of 3.25 percentage points.