The Tea Party Is Quickly Losing Its Court Battle Over Targeting to IRS

In this March 5, 2014 file photo, former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Photo: Lauren Victoria Burke, AP)
In this March 5, 2014 file photo, former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington.
(Photo: Lauren Victoria Burke, AP)

A federal court dismissed two lawsuits against the Internal Revenue Service Thursday, ruling that the tax agency is no longer targeting conservative tax-exempt groups for greater scrutiny.

“Unless an actual, ongoing controversy exists in this case, this court is without power to decide it,” U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton ruled, dismissing one lawsuit brought by True the Vote, a conservative vote-monitoring organization.

True the Vote, an offshoot of the Tea Party-affiliated King Street Patriots, had its application as a social welfare group help up because the IRS suspected it was engaging in direct political election campaigning, which is forbidden under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code. IRS agents found that its web site contained “Democratic attacks and Republican/conservative response,” according to confidential IRS documents obtained by USA TODAY.

Walton said the IRS has assured the public that they’re no longer screening applications for tax exemptions based on its political leanings, a practice that led to the dismissal of several top IRS officials when it was disclosed by Treasury inspectors last year.

“Thus, the allegedly unconstitutional governmental conduct, which had delayed the processing of the plaintiffs’ tax-exempt applications and spawned this litigation, is no longer impacting the plaintiffs,” Walton said in a second opinion dismissing a lawsuit brought by Linchpins of Liberty and 40 other groups in 22 states.

“The decision by the court is disappointing,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, which represented the plaintiffs in the Linchpins case. “However, it does not deter our efforts to seek justice for our clients. We are reviewing the decision and plan to appeal.”

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SOURCE: USA Today –¬†Gregory Korte

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