A journalist organization founded by WorldNetDaily’s Chief Executive Officer Joseph Farah has again sued the Internal Revenue Service for the agency’s failure to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request.
Sent via fax and certified mail on July 11, 2000, Farah made a FOIA request asking the IRS to provide “any and all documents, including but not limited to files, that refer or relate in any way to Joseph Farah, WorldNetDaily, and/or Western Journalism Center.”
Government agencies are required by law to comply with FOIA requests within 10 days. To date, the IRS has not responded to Farah’s legal demand.
The lawsuit, filed April 11, is intended to “bring everything up to date,” said Larry Klayman, general counsel of Judicial Watch and legal representative for Farah and Western Journalism Center. Farah made a FOIA request of the IRS several years ago.
“Presumably during that time, more documents may have been created which could explain what happened to Joe and WJC,” Klayman explained.
Alleging it was the victim of politically motivated audits, the nonprofit journalist group sued IRS agents seeking $10 million for First Amendment violations and damage to its reputation caused by the audits, which in turn served to reduce donations — the organization’s only source of income. The IRS eventually closed the audit case against WJC, finding no evidence of wrongdoing, and extended the center’s tax-exempt status.
Avoiding the central issue of whether or not a politically motivated audit constitutes a violation of a group’s civil rights, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s dismissal of the lawsuit in December, saying the suit was filed after the statute of limitations ran out.
But the court defeat has not stopped Farah from seeking the truth and obtaining justice for the organization he founded.
“If the IRS thought we were going to drop this matter because a new administration is in place, it was wrong. We will pursue this injustice as long as I have the strength and breath to pursue it. We’re not just fighting for ourselves — we’re fighting for the First Amendment rights of all Americans,” he said.
Now that several years have passed since Farah’s original FOIA request was filed, “there’s bound to be other documents in the files,” said Klayman. “For instance, maybe someone fessed up [internally] to what really happened.”
Saying the agency is “stonewalling,” Klayman believes the IRS is not responding because “they must have other documents that are incriminating.”
Other Judicial Watch clients have filed similar complaints this month as well, including Chinagate poster boy Johnny Chung and other Clinton-era victims such as Gennifer Flowers, Billy Dale and Juanita Broaddrick.
The IRS has “stonewalled on all of our clients,” said Klayman, who noted the courts will force the agency to respond, even if “the IRS thinks it’s above the law.”
“We wait for an answer, and the courts are going to order these documents produced. There’s no way around it,” he remarked. “It wouldn’t matter if we had a Reagan-appointed judge or a Clinton-appointed judge — either of them would order [the documents] to be produced. This is the law.”
Editor’s note: The Western Journalism Center is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that sponsors independent investigative reporting projects into government fraud, waste, corruption and abuse. The charity was founded by Joseph Farah, now editor and chief executive officer of WorldNetDaily.com, but is an entirely autonomous company. If you would like to support hard-hitting investigative journalism — the kind that really makes a difference — with your tax-deductible contributions, you can do so by calling 1-800-952-5595, by writing to the center at P.O. Box 2450, Fair Oaks, CA 95628, or by making your donation online.