In 2013, the TEA Party was effectively handicapped and later obliterated by the IRS stonewalling its groups from receiving non-profit status.
Conservatives accused the IRS of targeting the TEA Party solely for its conservative-based politics, but little came of it. Now, however, a federal judge has ordered the IRS to release the names of the employees involved in the scandal and required them to explain why they targeted the TEA Party, according to Fox News.
According to The Washington Times, a number of TEA Party groups were reviewed for non-profit status for a period of seven years, only to be denied by the IRS. It was only after an order from a federal judge, who determined that the IRS was guilty of violating First Amendment rights, that the IRS finalized its review of the conservative-based groups.
Jay Sekulow, of the American Center for Law and Justice who represented some of the TEA Party groups, said the whole affair smells of corruption. “It is clear that we still have an IRS that is corrupt and incapable of self-correction.”
In 2013, the former head of the IRS division charged with approving non-profit applications, Lois Lerner, even admitted the IRS was guilty of targeting TEA Party groups because of their politics. “That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate…. The IRS would like to apologize for that.”
Yet the scandal failed to receive any recognition under Barack Obama’s presidency and it was pushed to the back of mainstream media attention.
Things are seeming to turn around now thanks to Judge Reggie B. Walton, US District Court Judge of the District of Columbia, who has ordered the IRS to reveal the specific employees involved in targeting the TEA Party groups, which groups were targeted, why it was done, and to create a strategy to prevent a similar event from happening again.
Chris Farrell, director of investigations and research at the watchdog group Judicial Watch, said the scandal “was creepy, chilling stuff” and that the judge “accomplished more with one ruling than all of the rest of the federal government – all three branches – over the last six years. The IRS is one of the most feared government agencies, and they’ve gotten a pass, in part. Walton is looking for real accountability and that’s so important.”
The ruling is the result of a number of lawsuits filed against the IRS, particularly for targeting the group “True the Vote.” President of the organization, Catherine Engelbrecht, said the ruling was a relief. “We’re thrilled the judge has taken this step and it feels good to have it recognized that they need to be held to account,” she said. “What happened to me was very personal – my name was thrown around the IRS, and the names of the people involved need to be known. What they did was criminal.”
TEA Party groups targeted and stonewalled by the IRS may finally get justice. thanks to a federal judge who ordered the IRS to release the names of the employees involved in the scandal. Is it time to drain the swamp at the IRS?
Engelbrecht said the litigation against the IRS is difficult as many politicians on the hill are still convinced the IRS did nothing wrong, despite their own apologies and suspicious behavior. “They are still entrenched in the idea that the IRS did nothing wrong and all of America now knows that is not the case.”
She said the lawsuits are to receive justice and prevent the IRS from partisanship in the future. “What we’re fighting for is we want to see a policy that prohibits viewpoint discrimination. Holding the IRS accountable and personalizing it is a great step forward to coax each one out of their den of thieves.”
If it’s revealed that the IRS was targeting the TEA Party group, those involved should be held accountable for their bias. The judge’s ruling is a welcome call to drain the swamp in Washington and hopefully some good will come of it.