DOJ Announces Settlement With Tea Party Groups

"... this abuse of power will not be tolerated."

We Say: What never should have happened, should have been straightened out in a few weeks, After the indignity of being subjected to jackboot tactics by our own government, the IRS, the unbelievable irony of a courtroom fight against lawyers from the Treasury Department – our own government!- seems like the twilight zone.

Since 2012! 

Republished from  Image credit: YouTube Screengrab – not covered by license – Contributor Donald Krebs

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday that the Justice Department has entered into settlements in two cases involving groups whose tax-exempt status was inappropriately delayed during the 2010 and 2012 elections by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

The first case, Linchpins of Liberty v. United States, contains claims brought by 41 plaintiffs, and the second case, NorCal Tea Party Patriots v. Internal Revenue Service, was a class action suit that included 428 members.  

In a statement about the settlements, Sessions quoted Chief Justice John Marshall, who had observed that it’s undeniable that “the power to tax involves the power to destroy,” and Sessions said it should be “without question” that the First Amendment prohibits the federal government from treating groups differently “based solely on their viewpoint or ideology.”

Former IRS official Lois Lerner admitted in 2013 that the agency had improperly delayed some conservative groups from obtaining non-profit status simply because their “applications had [Tea Party or Patriots] in the title. That was wrong, that was absolutely incorrect, insensitive.”

Because of the criteria used, the IRS placed hundreds of applications under additional scrutiny, and Sessions said, “In many instances, the IRS then requested highly sensitive information from applicants, such as donor information, that was not needed to make a determination of tax-exempt status.”

This, Sessions went on to say “was wrong and should never occurred.” Tax-exempt status “should be based on the activities of the organization and whether they fulfill requirements of the law, not the policy positions adopted by members or the name chosen to reflect those views.”

Though the Justice Department declined to prosecute Lerner for her role in delaying non-profit status for some conservative groups, Sessions condemned the IRS for its treatment of the groups.

“There is no excuse for this conduct,” he wrote. “Hundreds of organizations were affected by these actions, and they deserve an apology from the IRS.  We hope that today’s settlement makes clear that this abuse of power will not be tolerated.”

CBS News’ Paula Reid contributed to this report.

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7 Responses to "DOJ Announces Settlement With Tea Party Groups"

  1. Bobbie Mueller  November 4, 2017 at 3:11 am

    This is sickenng to only give these groups an apology. We watched the hearings. We want jusice from our DOJ, the law enforced, Lois Lerner and the IRS Chief must be punished for their participation in singling out American patriots for the idealogy in which they disagree.

  2. GranPaSmurf  October 28, 2017 at 6:33 am

    Yeah, money would have been good. And spendable for Conservative activism.
    There were several lawsuits that followed different tracks. Early on, for us, a judge ruled that delay of approval did not incur such financial damage that damages should be imposed. Years and litigation later, that is probably arguable now. But going back is…not practical.
    Besides, it’s YOUR money. After the Obama DOJ spending a (really big) chunk of YOUR money fighting us in court for years, should we accept another chunk of YOUR money?
    A win is a W in the win column. It made and continues to make headlines. I think the headlines part is the mode for us right now. The average guy on the street that doesn’t follow much politics can see the headlines and learn that the IRS screwed up big-time. “Drain the swamp” isn’t just a catch-phrase about lobbyists.
    The IRS really didn’t want this to happen. They need that image of unassailable authority. Now what will happen when you get a letter from an IRS examiner with a ruling you disagree with; you’re thinking “there you go again, I’m calling my lawyer” instead of “oh, s**t”
    A win is a W in the win column.

  3. G westbrook  October 27, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    The apology is a win, but it is not enough. It does not compensate for the cost, the loss of revenue, nor does do anything to restore the damage caused to organization. I think there should have been a sizable cash award and the people responsible should have lost their jobs. I also think those like Lynch should have been prosecuted

  4. Dave R  October 27, 2017 at 10:48 am

    The “apology” sure did take a long time. Other than the payment of legal fees, I’m not sure the Tea Party groups came out a winner.

  5. GranPaSmurf  October 27, 2017 at 7:17 am

    Ahh, yes poor Lois. She had her testimony sealed because she was afraid some Tea Party zealot would assassinate her. The judge allowed it. In that case, they decided not to prosecute her.
    But in another of these cases, the judge demanded the IRS ‘name names.’ That response should be forthcoming in a week or so.
    She’s not enjoying retirement quite yet.

  6. GranPaSmurf  October 27, 2017 at 7:07 am

    No, he wasn’t fired. But his term ran out:
    New Trump guy starts next month.

  7. Don Stephens  October 26, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    So–what it boils down to is that TRUMP is NOT draining the swamp.The IRS commissioner has still not been fired and Lois Lerner has still not been prosecuted.

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