We’re coming up on three years since the IRS scandal broke in May 2013. Most Americans have certainly forgotten about it, especially since the former head, Lois Lerner, went wholly unpunished. But some targeted groups have not forgotten about it, and continue to fight for transparency with the entire affair.
Earlier this week, a federal appeals court “ordered the IRS to quickly turn over the full list of groups it targeted so that a class-action lawsuit, filed by the NorCal Tea Party Patriots, can proceed. The judges also accused the Justice Department lawyers, who are representing the IRS in the case, of acting in bad faith — compounding the initial targeting — by fighting the disclosure.”
The IRS, of course, claimed that no targeting happened — that it was merely an issue of poorly trained employees. Of course, we all know better. A vast majority of the targets were conservative or tea-party groups, there were secret buzz words to identify them, and some of the groups still have not attained 501c3 status after 5 years!
According to the Washington Times, Tea Party groups have been trying for years to get a full list of nonprofit groups that were targeted by the IRS, but the IRS had refused, saying that even the names of those who applied or were approved are considered secret taxpayer information. The IRS said section 6103 of the tax code prevented it from releasing that information.
Judge Kethledge, however, said that turned the law on its head. ‘Section 6103 was enacted to protect taxpayers from the IRS, not the IRS from taxpayers,’ he wrote.”
This particular ruling certified the NorCal case as a class-action lawsuit. Others who were targeted may be permitted to join the case, but until that list is revealed, it is unknown who exactly among the 200 or so groups involved were actually targeted.
Now, “the case moves to the discovery stage, where the tea party groups’ lawyers will ask for all of the agency’s documents related to the targeting and will depose IRS employees about their actions.”
As a CPA intimately involved with the IRS for many years, I have been following this case since the beginning and have continued to report on updates. The actions of the IRS were particularly egregious and overreaching, and no one was appropriately punished for it. It’s good that some of the groups remain dedicated to getting more answers that what has been divulged by the Department of Justice to date.