TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The IRS Scandal, Day 983

IRS Logo 2Press Release, U.S. District Court Certifies Class Action Against the IRS by Tea Party Groups:

Graves Garrett LLC is pleased to announce that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio has certified the class action brought by their clients against the Internal Revenue Service. The plaintiff Tea Party groups sued the IRS for violating their First Amendment rights by discriminating and retaliating against them during the tax-exempt application process. The groups also seek damages against the IRS for violating a taxpayer privacy statute. With certification of the class, the representative groups now assert claims on behalf of at least 200 other groups that the IRS targeted.

“This decision represents a significant step forward for obtaining relief for Tea Party groups that were identified, segregated, and harassed by the IRS solely because of their viewpoints,” said Edward Greim, who with Todd Graves and Dane Martin served as counsel. “It is also the culmination of nearly two years of class discovery into the scope and harm of the IRS’s conduct, including ten sworn depositions of the IRS and its agents in Washington, D.C. and Cincinnati, Ohio, and the IRS’s production of thousands of pages of documents.” In briefs, the Tea Party groups cited to evidence showing that the IRS’s conduct was not benign, but instead an orchestrated effort designed to hinder the effectiveness of Tea Party groups, prevent their access to the courts, and forcefully disclose their private donor information.

The lawsuit, NorCal Tea Party Patriots v. Internal Revenue Service, was the first lawsuit filed against the IRS relating to its handling of applications for tax-exemption by Tea Party groups. The case will now proceed to merits discovery and trial concerning liability and damages.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/01/the-irs-scandal-day-983.html

IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink

Comments

The people who did this should be held personally, financially responsible. They'd better lawyer up.

Posted by: VoteOutIncumbents | Jan 17, 2016 8:03:47 AM

The IRS should pay millions, but more importantly, the union goons who work there should be fired.

Posted by: DJ | Jan 17, 2016 8:10:42 AM

Mr. VOI: Perhaps we should all wait until and if there is a finding of liability before assessing damages. That’s the American way.
Mr. DJ: First, I doubt that any judgment, if there is a judgment, would amount to millions. Second, the IRS cannot sue or be sued and is judgment-proof; any judgment of any amount would be paid by the judgment fund, an annually budgeted line-item administered by the DOJ. Third, where do you think the money in the judgment fund comes from—Mars? It comes from the U.S. taxpayers. So any judgment against the United States will be paid to purported non-profit social clubs (IRC § 501(c)(4)s) by the U.S. taxpayers. Duh. Fourth, to the extent any individuals are found liable (a very unlikely scenario), those individuals are government employees or retirees. Not your traditional deep pockets for tort awards.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jan 17, 2016 9:21:24 AM

Mr PN, any finding of personal liability, even $1, would send a seismic shockwave throughout the entire bureaucratic 5th column. One of the core beliefs of government clerks worldwide is the lack of personal accountability for their actions. "It's not my job, mon."

It was working as a young revenuer in the '70s when congress passed the disclosure rules where individuals could be held accountable. The universal reaction was, "Screw em. I'm not going to stick my neck out (or do my job)."

I offer the arrogance of Lois Lerner as Exhibit #1.

Posted by: Dale Spradling | Jan 18, 2016 7:51:56 AM

Mr. Spradling: DJ calls for a judgment in the range of millions of dollars. That is what I was addressing. As for your personal anecdote, I too was working in federal tax administration when the anti-disclosure rules were beefed up by the Tax Reform Act of 1976. Your reaction, if honestly reported, was nearly unique. Everyone I observed was very intimidated by the possibility of a personal judgment. Work slowed, cases languished, and revenue assessment and collection suffered. So much so that in 1981 Reagan's 1981 tax law changed the personal liability provision to one where the U.S. was the only potential defendant.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jan 18, 2016 9:49:06 AM