Judicial Watch, the Washington watchdog that has for years been fighting to access Internal Revenue Service documents that reveal the extent of its discriminatory actions against Christians and conservatives, now is calling on President-elect Donald Trump to have his administration consider criminal counts against the much-feared federal agency.
“President Trump needs to reopen the criminal investigation of the IRS as soon as he is sworn into office,” said Tom Fitton, the president of the organization.
His comments came Wednesday as the organization confirmed it had obtained more documents in the investigation that revealed “a top IRS official admitted that Cincinnati office agents were targeting organizations requesting tax exempt status based on ‘guilty by association’ and ‘party affiliation.'”
The new documents come as part of a lawsuit Judicial Watch filed over the Freedom of Information Act requirements back in 2013.
The newly obtained documents include handwritten notes from an “unidentified source” at an IRS office meeting that apparently happened around August 2011.
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“According to an IRS court filing provided to Judicial Watch by the IRS, the notes were part of information taken from ‘four chief counsel employees (Victoria Judson, Janine Cook, Susan Brown, and Don Spellmann), Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division employee Nalee Park, and former IRS employee Sarah Hall Ingram.'”
The notes reveal the belief about the IRS workers: “They think they know what the org is really doing, rather than looking at actual activities. Q’s were not activity based, but guilt by association questions – like q’s asking party affiliations … They see approval of something that will turn out to be very bad org – terrified of that – that’s why they personally will need to have power to say yes. Agents felt if they could ask enough questions, they will find a problem. Agents were jumping to negative conclusions and assumptions – particularly where relationship with political groups or affiliations.”
It was discovered several years ago that agents for the IRS were discriminating against conservatives and Christians when they applied for tax status for their organizations, apparently in violation of the Constitution and the law.
For example, they deliberately delayed issuing a decision – either approval or disapproval – on organizations, meaning they couldn’t operate properly and they couldn’t even appeal.
The IRS also subjected targets to inappropriate questions, such as what the content was of their prayers.
The IRS also was found to have been making inappropriate demands – such as that a conservative group, in order to gain approval to operate, denounce opposition to Planned Parenthood’s abortion agenda.
Multiple lawsuits resulted, and some of those organizations have yet to get a decision from the federal agency. Multiple cases still are pending.
The new statement calls for action, Fitton said.
“This further confirms the IRS knew about abuses years before they were exposed,” he said.
Judicial Watch said the new 1,593 pages of documentation include a statement from Holly Paz, the former IRS director of the office of Rulings and Agreements, that the agents were ignoring the actual activities of organizations, and trying to find indications they had another agenda, what they “really” were doing.
Judicial Watch’s work earlier revealed that a report from a Treasury Department inspector general confirmed “the IRS had singled out groups with conservative-sounding terms such as ‘patriot’ and ‘Tea Party’ in their titles when applying for tax-exempt status.”
The report revealed that as early as 2010, the IRS, under the Obama administration, was using “inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status.”
The result was that many conservative organizations were refused the right to participate fully in the 2012 presidential election, when Obama’s policies and practices were on the line.
WND reported only this week that a “corrupt” IRS still was shooting down advocates for conservative causes, especially if they have the words “tea party” in their names, even though courts have told the bureaucrats to stop.
Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice said three non-profits that had applied for tax-exempt status years ago at a time when the agency was selectively targeting and discriminating against conservative groups, recently received letters from the IRS regarding their requests.
Two of the organizations were denied tax-exempt status.
“It is clear that we still have an IRS that is corrupt and incapable of self-correction,” Sekulow said.
“We’re pleased Unite in Action has finally received its approval after lengthy delays. We’re now in the process of reviewing the proposed denials in the other two cases as we aggressively move forward with our federal lawsuit against the IRS to ensure it is bound by the U.S. Constitution and the law protecting the fundamental freedoms of speech and association that serve as the bedrock to this great nation.
“As we continue our fight at the ACLJ against the lawless, unconstitutional Obama administration’s IRS targeting of grassroots conservatives, we are achieving important victories,” Sekulow said.
“But the fight also continues in federal court to ensure justice for all 38 of our clients from 22 states across the country. We must not stop fighting the IRS corruption until there is true justice and assurances that no American will ever be targeted by the IRS for his or her beliefs ever again.
“Three of our remaining clients have received determinations from the IRS in recent weeks after a significant victory in which a federal judge ordered the IRS to issue determinations within 30 days. Michigan-based Unite in Action – after waiting for more than six years – has been approved by the IRS.”
However, he said, two other clients – Albuquerque Tea Party from New Mexico and Tri Cities Tea Party from Washington state – received proposed denials regarding their applications.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has ruled that the IRS “did, in fact, discriminate against tea party groups.”