IRS Hit with Lawsuit on Behalf of 25 Tea Party Groups
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Attorney General, Treasury Secretary, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on behalf of more than two dozen Tea Party groups.
Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, said the IRS and federal government are not getting away with their "flagrant and arrogant abuse" of the rights of the conservative groups it targeted.
"The IRS and the federal government are not going to get away with this unlawful targeting of conservative groups," said Sekulow. "As this unconstitutional scheme continues even today, the only way to stop this flagrant and arrogant abuse of our clients' rights is to file a federal lawsuit, which we have done. The lawsuit sends a very powerful message to the IRS and the Obama Administration - including the White House: Americans are not going to be bullied and intimidated by our government. They will not be subjected to unconstitutional treatment and unlawfully singled out and punished because of their ideological beliefs. Those responsible for this unprecedented intimidation ploy must be held accountable."
The lawsuit, which is on behalf of 25 conservative groups, lists U.S Attorney General Eric Holder, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Secretary of the United States Treasury Jacob Lew, former Deputy Commissioner and Acting Commissioner of the IRS Steve Miller, Director of the IRS's Exempt Organizations Division Lois Lerner, former Acting Manager of the IRS Holly Paz and unknown named IRS officials as plaintiffs. It urges the court to find the Obama administration went beyond their authority and violated the First and Fifth Amendments of the U.S Constitution, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the IRS's rules and regulations.
According to the ACLJ:
"The lawsuit requests a declaratory judgment that the Defendants unlawfully delayed and obstructed the organizations' applications for a determination of tax-exempt status by means of conduct that was based on unconstitutional criteria and impermissibly disparate treatment of the groups. The suit also seeks injunctive relief to protect our clients - and their officers and directors - from further IRS abuse or retaliation. Further, the lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive monetary damages to be determined at trial at a later date."
Within the lawsuit, the ACLJ cites six counts arguing the federal government violated the Constitution, federal law, and its own rules and regulations.
"The suit contends that the Obama Administration "unlawfully delayed and thereby effectively denied approval of Plaintiffs' applications for tax exempt status by means of a comprehensive, pervasive, invidious and organized scheme that purposefully established unnecessary and burdensome inquiries and scrutiny of Plaintiffs' applications based solely upon Plaintiffs' political viewpoints (or Defendants' assumption of Plaintiffs' viewpoints, based on their organizational names),'" states the ACLJ.
The 25 groups listed on the lawsuit include the following: Linchpins of Liberty (Franklin, TN), Patriots Educating Concerned Americans Now (Redding, CA), Greenwich Tea Party Patriots of South Jersey, Inc. (Woodstown, NJ), Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriots (Chandler, AZ), United in Action, Inc.( Livonia, MI), Allen Area Patriots (Lucas, TX), Laurens Country Tea Party (Laurens, SC), North East Tarrant Tea Party, Inc. (Irving, TX), Mrytle Beach Tea Party, Inc.( Conway, SC), Albuquerque Tea Party, Inc. (Albuquerque, NM), Colorado 9/12 Project (Denver, CO), San Antonio Tea Party (San Antonio, TX), Wetumpka Tea Party, Inc. (Wetumpka, AL), OKC PIA Association (Newalla, OK), Richmond Tea Party (Richmond, VA), Hawaii Tea Party D/B/A Maui Tea Party (Kahului, HI), Shelby County Liberty Group (Sidney, OH), Manassas Tea Party (Manassas, VA), The Honolulu Tea Party (Honolulu, HI), Waco Tea Party (Waco, TX), Kentucky 9/12 Project (Georgetown, KY), San Fernando Valley Patriots Inc (Encino, CA), Portage County Tea Party, Inc. (Kent, OH), Chattanooga Tea Party (Ooltewah, TN) and American Patriots Against Government Excess (Fremont, OH).