Search  |  Login  |  Register

1382360658000

(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

Tax Day Reminder: IRS Is Alive & Well

By Jay Sekulow1429110283205

The numbers are staggering. On Tax Day, some 150-million individual tax returns are expected to be filed. Americans will spend more than six billion hours preparing their tax forms. Consider this: the biggest issue facing American taxpayers – the complexity of the tax code. The tax code includes...

read more

No justice from the Justice Department

By Jay Sekulow1427999409391

I have said it before -- the Obama administration’s Internal Revenue Service is institutionally incapable of self-correction. And, now it is even clearer that the Obama administration’s Department of Justice is incapable of holding accountable those responsible for a massive illegal targeting...

read more

Obama’s DOJ Refuses to Prosecute IRS

By Jay Sekulow1427925957465

It may come as no surprise, but it’s no less outrageous. President Obama’s Justice Department has officially refused to prosecute former top IRS official Lois Lerner for contempt of Congress. It is troubling but not surprising that the Justice Department will not seek criminal contempt charges...

read more

IRS: Continually Corrupt Bureaucracy

By Joseph Williams1427827872771

With April 15th – Tax Day – quickly approaching, the IRS is once again on the minds of the American public. Millions of Americans are preparing to file their tax returns. But with a continually corrupt bureaucracy administrating our voluntary tax system, many Americans have cause for concern. This...

read more