Dozens of Tea Party Groups File Massive Lawsuit Against IRS

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By Katherine Weber, Christian Post Reporter
May 30, 2013|6:20 am

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) announced Wednesday that it has filed a federal lawsuit against the IRS on behalf of 25 Tea Party and conservative organizations regarding the government entity's recent scandal involving the alleged unfair targeting and scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax exemption status. 

The lawsuit is being filed against the U.S. Attorney General, Treasury Secretary, and Internal Revenue Service, and is representing Tea Party organizations from various different states, including Hawaii, Colorado, California, Kentucky, among other places.

The lawsuit specifically names as defendants Attorney General Eric Holder, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, former IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, IRS' Tax Exempt Division Director Lois Lerner, Office of Rulings and Agreements Director Holly Paz, as well as "Unknown Named IRS Officials."

The text of the lawsuit, which has been made public online, calls for the court to rule that the Obama administration violated the First and Fifth amendments of the U.S. Constitution, the Administrative Procedure Act as well as the IRS' own rules and regulations.

The lawsuit also seeks to receive injunctive relief so that conservative organizations may no longer be allegedly targeted.

Additionally, the groups represented are seeking monetary compensation for damages and, for the ten conservative organizations being represented in the lawsuit which didn't receive tax-exempt status, they are requesting that they receive said status.

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"The IRS and the federal government are not going to get away with this unlawful targeting of conservative groups," Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ, a Washington D.C.-based human rights firm, said in a statement. 

"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," Sekulow continued.

"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," Sekulow concluded.

Toby Marie Walker, president of the Waco Tea Party, one of the many groups being represented in the suit, told ABC News that although she is nervous of retaliation in filing the suit, she believes the result will be a landmark case defining the boundaries of the government.

"It makes you a little nervous, but I believe we have great attorneys that will represent us well and this is the time for Americans to put government back in its constitutional box and not allow them abusive power on their citizens," Walker told ABC News, "I do feel like this will be a landmark case that people will talk about for years to come."

Last week, two other conservative groups, the NorCal Tea Party and True the Vote, also filed lawsuits against the IRS regarding the recent targeting scandal.

The ACLJ's lawsuit, however, is the biggest yet to address the IRS targeting issue.

Earlier in May, the IRS revealed that it had specifically targeted Tea Party and conservative groups based on their names for a drawn-out process to determine if they could receive tax-exempt status.

Since the IRS admitted to the issue, the White House has ousted IRS commissioner Steven Miller from his post, as well as put Lois Lerner, the division director responsible for singling out conservative groups, on administrative leave.

Additionally, congressional panels are currently investigating the claims and the Justice Department has launched a separate investigation into the scandal.

ACLJ Senior Counsel David French told The Daily Caller recently that the intent of the lawsuit is to designate individual accountability for the alleged transgressions of the IRS.

"We are trying to get to individual accountability because these people made individual choices to violate the Constitution in intentionally targeting these groups," French said.

"The scale of the targeting and the deliberateness of it is unlike anything I have seen in almost 20 years of litigation," French added.

 

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