2015 Victories: Holding the IRS Accountable
This is the latest installment in a year-end series looking back at a few of the many victories by the ACLJ in 2015.
In the aftershock of the IRS scandal targeting Tea Party and other conservative organizations applying for tax-exempt status, one conservative group submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the IRS seeking certain correspondence involving high-ranking IRS officials and left leaning politicians. The time-sensitive FOIA request was submitted right before the November 2014 congressional elections.
Delaying and balking at every attempt to make it hand over documents exposing its conduct, the IRS simply refused to play by the rules. It failed to respond within the time required. Stall tactics. Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire contacted the ACLJ, and we filed a federal lawsuit demanding accountability. The IRS finally provided some documents, but it was clear others were missing. More stall tactics.
We insisted the IRS answer for its behavior in court. First, the court was not persuaded by the IRS’s attempts to dodge accountability to the people and determined that this case must go to trial. As less than 1% of these types of cases actually go to trial, this was a victory in steps. Now, facing our litigation, the IRS has finally decided to perform the requisite search for responsive documents - required by law. This is a major victory. In the end, we forced the IRS to turn over documents it had refused to turn over to the public. The IRS's stall tactics failed. Only through litigation are we able to force the IRS to follow the law and be held accountable to the American people.
This is why we continue pressing forward with major legal efforts against the IRS. Our major case on behalf of dozens of conservative groups from across America demanding justice continues on appeal. Each victory along the way brings us one step closer to the truth and one step closer to justice for those illegally targeted for their beliefs by the IRS.
To help the ACLJ continue to have the resources we need to make these victories possible and continue these fights, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the ACLJ through our year-end Matching Challenge. Your gift will be doubled dollar-for-dollar through the end of the year.
You will be able to read more in the ACLJ’s 2015 Victories series here.