ACLJ Expands Federal Lawsuit Against IRS | American Center for Law and Justice
  Search  |  Login  |  Register

ACLJ Profile Completion



(Washington, DC) - The American Center for Law and Justice announced today it has filed a second amended lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C. – adding additional defendants – including top IRS political appointees – an additional claim – and evidence that reveals a politically-motivated attack on conservative organizations by the IRS – a secret and illegal targeting campaign – aimed at the organizations because of their political beliefs.

“The intimidation campaign conducted by the IRS is much more politically-motivated and coordinated than previously thought,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, which has filed the largest lawsuit of its kind against the IRS. “We now know that President Obama through his public comments initiated actions that resulted in the unlawful targeting of our clients – a self-induced unconstitutional act. In addition to the President's remarks, Congressional Democrats along with the media created a climate of hostility – making it impossible for our clients to exercise their First Amendment freedoms. This hostile climate set the stage for the unprecedented illegal targeting by the IRS. The Obama Administration and the IRS objected to the conservative message of our clients which resulted in the unlawful and unconstitutional scheme to keep our clients on the sidelines – out of the political debate. This filing strengthens our case and underscores our commitment to holding those responsible for this scheme accountable.”

The ACLJ filed its initial lawsuit challenging the IRS in May 2013, filed an amended complaint in June, and with this filing provides additional evidence of a coordinated, highly-partisan attack on conservative and Tea Party groups.

“The facts of this case reflect a course of conduct by a faction of the United States government that would make the Founders weep and which should outrage every American,” the complaint contends.  “The Defendants, acting in their official and/or individual capacities, have, based upon their constituencies or benefactors, obstructed other law abiding citizens from freely associating together and giving voice to their beliefs.  This deprivation occurred solely and unconstitutionally based on the perceived beliefs of those citizens whose rights have been deprived.”

In the amended complaint filed Friday, the ACLJ adds a number of additional defendants to the suit: Douglas H. Shulman (former Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), William Wilkins (Chief Counsel, IRS), Sarah Hall Ingram (former Commissioner, Tax Exempt/Government Entities Division), Joseph Grant (Commissioner, Tax Exempt/Government Entities Division), Michael Seto (Acting Manager, EO Technical Unit), Nikole Flax (Senior Technical Advisor, Exempt Organization Division) and Judith E. Kindell (Senior Technical Advisor, Exempt Organization Division).

The amended complaint also adds an additional claim for violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

Further, the amended complaint contends that the White House, Congressional Democrats and the media put pressure on the IRS to adopt a more rigorous standard when applying for tax-exempt status than was applied to liberal organizations.

The complaint argues that the IRS responded to this pressure by engaging in a campaign of unlawful targeting.

According to the complaint, President Obama’s comments aimed at his political opponents began as early as August 2010: “President Obama joined what the IRS and Democrat members of Congress had already started: a relentless campaign to stifle the free speech of those protesting his and Democrats’ policies and the direction of the federal government.”

The number of Plaintiffs in the lawsuit remains unchanged. The ACLJ represents 41 organizations in 22 states. Of the 41 groups, 22 organizations received tax-exempt status after lengthy delays, 12 are still pending, 5 withdrew applications because of frustration with the IRS process, and 2 had their files closed by the IRS after refusing to answer the unconstitutional requests for more information.

The 81-page amended lawsuit is posted here. An Executive Summary of the amended complaint is posted here.

The amended lawsuit urges the court to find that the Obama Administration overstepped its authority and violated the First and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, the Administrative Procedure Act, as well as the IRS's own rules and regulations. 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.

The IRS contends that the targeting scheme originated with a couple of rogue IRS agents out of the Cincinnati, Ohio office and contends the abusive conduct has been halted. However, the ACLJ has correspondence showing this tactic was used not only in the Cincinnati office, but also from two offices in California – El Monte and Laguna Niguel – as well as the national office in Washington, D.C.

Furthermore, the ACLJ has letters signed by Lois Lerner, former Director of Exempt Organizations, suggesting her personal involvement in sending invasive questionnaires to 15 of our clients in March 2012 - some nine months after she was told about the scheme and promised to stop it.

The ACLJ has heard from nearly 130,000 Americans calling on President Obama and members of Congress to end the IRS abuse.

Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), focusing on constitutional law, is based in Washington, D.C.


Latest in
Free Speech

Judge Clears Obama's Internet Giveaway

By ACLJ.org1475520521174

Late Friday, just hours before the deadline, a federal judge ruled against four states that are challenging President Obama’s long-planned giveaway of control over key aspects of the Internet. After Congress failed to take any action to block the transfer last week, four states (Arizona, Texas,

read more

Deadline Looms to Save Internet Freedom

By Jay Sekulow1474906144638

This week, our nation faces a looming deadline that could forever alter the future of cybersecurity and Internet freedom. The Obama Administration is banking on you not paying attention as this historic moment nears. But we have the opportunity to fight back and demand that our Members of Congress...

read more

President Obama’s IRS Scandal: 7 Years Now

By Miles Terry1470858950643

As we continue to bring you analysis this week of our recent win in the IRS case , we are reminded of how much this issue has developed since it was first discovered. To be clear – the Obama Administration’s IRS targeting of Tea Party and other grassroots conservative groups is one of the longest...

read more

Victory Over Obama Admin's IRS Targeting

By Jay Sekulow1470429752294

We just secured a major victory in federal appeals court against the Obama Administration’s IRS. The court unequivocally agreed with our position that the IRS’s targeting of conservatives has not ended and that our clients – numerous conservative, Tea Party, and pro-life groups – deserve to have...

read more