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Tea Party, conservative groups sue IRS, Obama administration, Holder

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 30th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

"The lawsuit sends a very powerful message to the IRA and the Obama Administration - including the White House," Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice declares. "Americans are not going to be bullied and intimidated by our government." Twenty-five conservative and Tea Party groups have filed suit against the Internal Revenue Service, Attorney General Eric Holder and top IRS officials. The groups allege that the Obama administration unlawfully targeted them due to their political beliefs and obstructed their applications for tax-exempt status.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The IRS and the federal government are not going to get away with this unlawful targeting of conservative groups," Sekulow said. Sekulow's group, the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative public interest law firm filed the lawsuit on behalf of the groups in Washington, D.C. this week.

The suit asks for a declaration that the defendants, including Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, "unlawfully delayed and obstructed" applications for tax-exempt status.

The lawsuit also asks for monetary damages, protection for the plaintiffs from further IRS targeting. It requests tax-exempt status for 10 of the conservative groups, with applications still outstanding.

Listing 25 plaintiffs, the center adds that more were likely to be added to the lawsuit. Thirteen of the plaintiffs have now received tax-exempt status, and two have withdrawn their applications. The plaintiffs applied for tax-exempt status between 2009 and 2011.

The White House has maintained that it was unaware of the targeting. President Barack Obama claims that he only learned of the issue when news of the IG's report broke.

The currently suspended director of the Exempt Organizations department at the IRS, Lois Lerner has apologized and said she had learned of the targeting in 2012 when Tea Party groups complained.

Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, who has since resigned, told Congress that the targeting was the result of "foolish mistakes" by lower-level IRS employees. Miller denied that politics or partisanship motivated the people involved. According to the IRS's public statements and testimony, most of the work in question was done by employees at the IRS Exempt Organizations Determinations Unit in Cincinnati, Ohio.

It has since been learned that requests for information about the groups came from other local offices and IRS headquarters in Washington. Sekulow previously had provided some of the letters to NBC News, and on Wednesday made them available to the public. At least one letter requesting information about the Ohio Liberty Council bears the stamped signature of Lerner.

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