(JUDICIAL WATCH) – Judicial Watch announced today that it received previously sealed court documents, including depositions of IRS officials Lois Lerner, the former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Holly Paz, her top aide and former IRS director of Office of Rulings and Agreements, which show that they knew most Tea Party organizations were legally entitled to tax-exempt status in the run up to the Obama reelection in 2012.
The release comes in the December 2017 amicus curiae brief (friend of the court) filed by Judicial Watch in NorCal Tea Party Patriots, et al. v. The Internal Revenue Service, et al. (No. 1:13-cv-00341). Judicial Watch argued that the documents sought may shed light on government misconduct, and the shielding of internal government deliberations does not serve the public’s interest.
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Lerner’s and Paz’s depositions were sealed by Judge Barrett in April 2017, after Lerner’s and Paz’s lawyers claimed the two officials were receiving threats. The court finally ordered the unsealing of the depositions four years after plaintiffs requested the depositions be unsealed and only after plaintiffs filed for a writ of mandamus to force action in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.