(Washington, DC) - The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), focusing on constitutional law, said it is representing nearly 20 Tea Party organizations nationwide against what appears to be a coordinated attempt by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to intimidate and silence these organizations in this election year. The ACLJ says IRS information demands sent to Tea Party groups include probing questions that violate the free speech and freedom of association rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.
"This appears to be a coordinated attempt to intimidate Tea Party organizations by demanding information that is outside the scope of legitimate inquiry and violates the First Amendment," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "These organizations have followed the law and applied for tax exempt status for their activities as Americans have done for decades. The problem here is the IRS has gone beyond legitimate inquiries and is demanding that these organizations answer questions that actually violate the First Amendment rights of our clients. The IRS is demanding that groups reveal the internal workings of their organizations - including the identification of members, how they are selected, who they associate with, and even what they discuss. This intimidation campaign is as onerous as what the IRS did to the NAACP in the 1950's and is simply unacceptable. We will aggressively defend our clients and are prepared to take the IRS to court if necessary."
The ACLJ says the IRS information demands sent to the Tea Party groups are not in response to complaints of wrongdoing, but instead in response to applications by the organizations for 501(c)(4) tax exempt status.
Sekulow, who served as a trial lawyer with the Office of the Chief Counsel for the IRS earlier in his career, said many of the questions are simply inappropriate and fall well outside the scope of legitimate IRS inquiry. A sampling of the problematic questions are posted here.
The ACLJ is also calling for Congressional oversight hearings on this issue. In just two days, the ACLJ has heard from more than 30,000 Americans urging Congress to conduct hearings concerning the IRS actions in this matter.
Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), focusing on constitutional law, is based in Washington, D.C.
We have repeatedly written about the rampant corruption within the Obama Administration’s IRS and the apparent belief of IRS officials that the law simply does not apply to their conduct. Information revealed yesterday by the head of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)
It sounds eerily familiar. Remember when former IRS top official Lois Lerner tried to downplay the unlawful targeting scheme against conservative and Tea Party groups in May 2012? After the revelation, she did not expect the uproar that ensued and quickly went into finger-pointing mode – blaming...
It is difficult to believe. In testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Thursday, the Treasury Inspector General (IG) for Tax Administration is expected to reveal that IRS employees destroyed critical evidence during an investigation of the agency’s unlawful targeting of...
Never has religious liberty been under greater attack in our nation’s military. Just how bad things are was demonstrated recently in the case of United States v. Sterling . In that case, the United States Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals held that the Marines could order Lance Corporal...