The IRS and President Obama’s Ongoing Targeting of Conservative Groups


Matthew Clark

May 29, 2013

4 min read

Free Speech



As the IRS continues its unconstitutional targeting of conservative citizen-led groups, President Obama (who unquestionably knows about the targeting now) has done absolutely nothing to stop it.

It is an ongoing atrocity – a mockery of any semblance of justice in our constitutional system of government by consent of the governed.

To understand how the IRS targeting is still ongoing to this day, it is important understand how this IRS scheme worked.

First, conservative groups were invidiously targeted, set apart from the regular tax-exempt process.  They were removed from the traditional review process and set aside for further scrutiny, not for any legitimate questions raised by their application, but solely because of their name and the policy positions they held.  It is key to understand that they were removed from the normal application process for higher scrutiny.

Second, those conservative groups that were intentionally and inappropriately targeted for their political beliefs, were then subjected to unconstitutionally intrusive questions.  These questions include demands for donor lists, Facebook postings, positions espoused, and resumes of board members, among other Draconian demands.

Third, these targeted conservative groups’ tax-exempt applications were delayed through multiple rounds of intrusive questions for years – for some groups up to three years and counting.

The Treasury Department Inspector General audited the IRS as to each of these issues and concluded that they were each founded.  Each form of targeting unequivocally occurred.  Each form of targeting was admittedly inappropriate.

To be clear both the IRS and the White House have insisted that the targeting of conservative groups ended in 2012.  This is undeniably false for two reasons.

First, none of the targeted groups were ever removed from the elevated inquiry process.  The IRS inappropriately targeted and elevated conservative groups’ applications for additional scrutiny based solely on their names and opposition to the way the country is being run.  Yet, the IRS, upon learning of the targeting and “stopping” the targeting, never removed these groups from the targeted inquiry process.

Even if – and it’s a very generous “if” in light of the IRS’s continued obfuscation of the truth – the IRS stopped targeting conservative groups moving forward in 2012 as they claim, that does nothing to stop the targeting of the groups it inappropriately elevated for scrutiny.

The IRS targeted these conservative groups and placed them in the equivalent of tax-exempt purgatory, and never removed them.  Refraining from inappropriately targeting conservative groups in the future does nothing to stop the targeting of conservative groups today.  To stop an unlawful action is to stop doing it in the future and to stop doing it NOW.

At the ACLJ, we represent numerous targeted groups who are still receiving increased scrutiny because their cases were elevated years ago and they have never been removed from that process.  Further these groups are still receiving intrusive targeted inquiry letters as recently as earlier this month.

Second, and closely related, is the fact that targeted groups continue to have their tax-exempt status delayed to this day.  One of the specific IG finding was that the extreme delay in the granting of tax-exempt status was inappropriate.  We represent 10 targeted groups that to this day still have not receive a final determination of their tax exempt status.  The IRS has often refused to respond to our clients for six months or more at a time (while at the same time demanding the targeted groups respond within weeks under penalty of perjury when the IRS finally gets around to contacting them).

The IRS’s systematic targeting of conservative groups has not ended.  It continues unrequited to this day.  The groups that were targeted for their conservative views have never been removed from the elevated, intrusive inquiry process.  Many of the groups who were targeted are still being delayed.  The IG concluded that delays to May 2012 were improper, and a year later the IRS still has not approved these groups.

U.S. citizens are being targeted by their government.  And our government - from the tax-exempt office of the IRS to President Obama himself – has done absolutely nothing to stop it and to redress this grave grievance.

We still have not heard an answer from the Obama Administration or the IRS to the simple question: When you learned the IRS was inappropriately targeting conservative groups for delay and scrutiny, why didn’t you remove these groups from that intrusive inquiry process?

We aren’t going to wait around any longer for an answer.  We are fighting back, taking the IRS to court, demanding a true end to the IRS’s unconstitutional actions.