Bipartisan Senate Finance Committee Report Finds IRS Wrongdoing in Targeting Conservative Groups | American Center for Law and Justice
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Senate Committee Finds IRS Wrongdoing

By ACLJ.org1438817933296

This afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee released their bipartisan report, concluding their two-year investigation into the IRS’s unconstitutional targeting of grassroots conservative organizations applying for tax-exempt status.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, stated,

“This bipartisan investigation shows gross mismanagement at the highest levels of the IRS and confirms an unacceptable truth: that the IRS is prone to abuse. The Committee found evidence that the administration’s political agenda guided the IRS’s actions with respect to their treatment of conservative groups.  Personal politics of IRS employees, such as Lois Lerner, also impacted how the IRS conducted its business.  American taxpayers should expect more from the IRS and deserve an IRS that lives up to its mission statement of administering the tax laws fairly and impartially – regardless of political affiliation. Moving forward, it is my hope we can use this bipartisan report as a foundation to work towards substantial reforms at the agency so that this never happens again.”

In response to the report, ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow stated, “The Senate Finance Committee’s bipartisan report confirms what we knew all along.  The IRS systematically targeted conservative groups, subjected them to extreme delays, and unconstitutionally demanded they answer burdensome and intrusive questions.”

He continued:  “As the bipartisan report highlights, the targeting ‘harmed the organizations ability to function for their stated purposes.’  And as Committee Chairman Hatch correctly concluded, ‘the administration’s political agenda guided the IRS’s actions with respect to their treatment of conservative groups.’”  Jay Sekulow further explained, “The report is replete with evidence of bureaucratic incompetence, partisan political animus, and willful delays and deception of Congress.  The IRS remains institutionally incapable of self-correction."

Chairman Hatch issued an executive summary outlining a number of the findings of the report.

Among them, the report found that:

  • “[T]he IRS systemically selected Tea Party and other conservative organizations for heightened scrutiny, in a manner wholly different from how the IRS processed applications submitted by left-leaning and nonpartisan organizations.”
  • “[O]ur investigation revealed an environment within the IRS where the political bias of individual employees like Lois Lerner can, and sometimes does, influence decisions.”
  • “[T]he IRS has shown a pattern of continually misleading Congress about its handling of applications submitted by Tea Party organizations.”
  • “[S]oon after the Obama Administration began a concerted effort to constrain spending on political speech, the IRS and other executive agencies began scrutinizing conservative organizations that had, or sought, tax-exempt status.”
  • “[T]he IRS harmed the Committee’s investigation by failing to properly preserve a significant portion of Lois Lerner’s email, resulting in its loss, and then concealing that loss from the Committee for months.”

Of course, none of this is surprising to us at the ACLJ. We have been reporting on this for years. ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow has testified on Capitol Hill about this scandal four times over the past two years. We are involved in major litigation in multiple federal courts.

While the bipartisan report makes a number of important recommendations, such as simply following the laws and regulations as they are currently written, this is not enough to ensure justice and integrity moving forward.

As ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow testified one week ago today before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, the IRS has targeted conservative groups for their political beliefs, and the Department of Justice has proven complicit in the targeting of conservative groups.

There must be an independent prosecution – a Special Counsel – appointed. And the ACLJ will remain vigilant in court and before Congress until there is justice for those Americans who were targeted and accountability for the IRS that has abused its power and targeted everyday Americans.

We will continue fighting to ensure that no American is ever again targeted by the IRS because of his or her political beliefs

Demand an Independent Prosecutor

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