TaxProf Blog

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

Friday, January 18, 2019

Conservative Groups Targeted In Lois Lerner’s IRS Scandal Receive Settlement Checks

IRS Logo 2The Daily Signal, Conservative Groups Targeted in Lois Lerner’s IRS Scandal Receive Settlement Checks:

Dozens of conservative organizations are receiving late Christmas presents years after the IRS handed them a lump of coal.

The federal government in recent days has been issuing settlement checks to 100 right-of-center groups wrongfully targeted for their political beliefs under the Obama administration’s Internal Revenue Service, according to an attorney for the firm that represented plaintiffs in NorCal v. United States.

Three of the claimants in the $3.5 million national class-action suit are based in the Badger State.

“This is really a groundbreaking case. Hopefully it sets a precedent and will serve as a warning to government officials who further feel tempted to discriminate against U.S. citizens based on their viewpoints,” Edward Greim, attorney for Kansas City, Missouri-based Graves Garrett LLC told MacIver News Service.

Most of the claimants will each receive a check for approximately $14,000, Greim said. Five conservative groups that were integrally involved in the lawsuit get a bonus payment of $10,000 each, the attorney said.

About $2 million of the settlement goes to cover the legal costs of five long years of litigation. IRS attorneys attempted delay after delay, objection after objection, trying to use the very taxpayer protection statutes the plaintiffs were suing under to suppress documents.

The agency has admitted no wrongdoing in what a federal report found to be incidents of intrusive inspections of organizations seeking nonprofit status. Greim has said the seven-figure settlement suggests otherwise.

Washington Examiner, IRS Payments For Abusing Conservatives Should Keep Fed Workers Honest:

The federal government made official in recent days what conservatives have known for years: Conservative groups were not just inconvenienced but illegally harmed when Lois Lerner and others at the Internal Revenue Service targeted and harassed them for several years beginning in 2010.

Some 100 conservative groups have begun to receive settlement checks in recent days to counter damages they suffered from illegal IRS targeting. The checks averaging $14,000 probably don’t come close to making up for the harm the groups suffered, and they surely don’t punish the IRS scofflaws (the money comes not from them but from the Treasury). They do, however, signify a real value for political speech rights and a recognition that government should pay when it abuses fundamental liberties.

“Among the most serious allegations a federal court can address are that an Executive agency has targeted citizens for mistreatment based on their political views,” wrote Judge Raymond Kethledge for a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. “No citizen — Republican or Democrat, socialist or libertarian — should be targeted or even have to fear being targeted on those grounds.”

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2019/01/conservative-groups-targeted-in-lois-lerners-irs-scandal-receive-settlement-checks.html

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Comments

This is disturbing news for progressives such as myself. I remember these allegations, but thought they had been disproven long ago (as indicated by this story in The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/05/us/politics/irs-targeting-tea-party-liberals-democrats.html)

Not so, however. The charges have been proven, in court, and taxpayers will now be paying the bill. We learn about this here from two right-leaning publications, the Daily Signal and the Washington Examiner. Let's hope for equal treatment and space from the liberal media.

Posted by: Gerald Scorse | Jan 18, 2019 5:19:14 AM

Let's do the same to the Democrats. Target their nonprofits, independent counsel investigations (although we did it first LOL), don't invite a Democrat president to give a state of the union, and on and on. Mutually assured destruction.

Posted by: GOP | Jan 18, 2019 5:59:30 AM

Missing from the article: Lois Lerner and friends serving 30 months sentence for violation of 26 USC Section 7212.

Posted by: Diogenes | Jan 19, 2019 4:19:21 AM

@Gerald Scorse, the word "proven" may be a bit strong here. These cases were settled by the Trump DOJ.
https://www.plannedgiftdesign.com/uploads/2/4/6/6/24661337/volume_one_number_four.pdf

Posted by: Russ Willis | Jan 19, 2019 12:01:26 PM

Russ Willis: You're right about "proven" being "a bit strong". I realized that myself, but I'd already posted the comment. :)

Posted by: Gerald Scorse | Jan 19, 2019 5:26:40 PM

To: GOP Re: "Let's do the same to Democrats."

Already done, long ago: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/05/us/politics/irs-targeting-tea-party-liberals-democrats.html

If that link doesn't work, see "In Targeting Political Groups, I.R.S. Crossed Party Lines, 10/5/17, New York Times

Posted by: Gerald Scorse | Jan 20, 2019 5:03:03 AM