(Washington, DC) – The American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) today filed a federal lawsuit in New Hampshire against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on behalf of the group, Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, claiming the IRS is unlawfully delaying the release of records between the IRS and U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) who demanded the IRS investigate conservative organizations for engaging in “political activities.”
Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) demanding the IRS release the correspondence between the tax agency and Sen. Shaheen and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01). The lawsuit was filed today in U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire, in Concord, NH. The lawsuit contends the IRS is unlawfully delaying the release of information until after next week’s mid-term elections – a move that the complaint argues “has deprived Strong NH of the opportunity to obtain and effectively convey to the voting public vital information about those seeking re-election.”
“This is the latest in a series of actions by the IRS to interject itself into the election process – a move that reflects the unbridled arrogance of a tax agency out of control,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “By refusing to release information between the IRS and a U.S. Senator and a Member of Congress in a timely manner in advance of next week’s election, the IRS is engaging in a deliberate campaign to prevent voters from gaining important information that could have an impact on the outcome of the election.”
The ACLJ contends that as early as February 2010, and for at least the next three years, the IRS was engaged in a scheme of identifying applications for additional scrutiny from conservative and tea party organizations seeking tax-exemption – operating in an unlawful and unconstitutional manner.
The complaint, posted here, contends Sen. Shaheen was the signatory of two letters to the IRS in early 2012 – demanding that the tax agency investigate conservative organizations for “political activity” and according to one letter concluded: “We think existing IRS regulations run afoul of the law” by allowing groups that engage in political activity to “hide behind a façade of charity work.” In the weeks following the receipt of Sen. Shaheen's initial letter, the IRS sent a series of unconstitutional and intrusive inquiries to conservative organizations.
In June 2014, Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire filed a FOIA request with the IRS seeking release of the records. The lawsuit contends that the IRS failed to comply with a 20-day response deadline and most recently told Strong NH that it could expect a response before January 2015.
The lawsuit requests the federal court to order the IRS to release the records.
Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law & Justice is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
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