WASHINGTON, Nov. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which is representing 41 organizations in a federal lawsuit challenging the IRS, said today the new regulations proposed by the IRS aimed at tax-exempt organizations places the free speech rights of Americans at even greater risk.
"These proposed new regulations put the First Amendment rights of Americans at even greater risk," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "This is a feeble attempt by the Obama Administration to justify its own wrong-doing with the IRS targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups. Instead of holding those responsible for the unlawful targeting scheme accountable for their actions, the Obama Administration is determined to further limit the free speech of Americans by attempting to change constitutional practices that are decades old. With this move, the Obama Administration opens a new front in its war against political dissent. We will file comments with the IRS opposing these new regulations."
Just last month, the ACLJ expanded its federal suit, filing a second amended lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C. – adding additional defendants – including top IRS political appointees – an additional claim – and evidence that reveals a politically-motivated attack on conservative organizations by the IRS – a secret and illegal targeting campaign – aimed at the organizations because of their political beliefs.
The ACLJ argues that President Obama – along with Congressional Democrats – created a climate of hostility toward Tea Party and conservative groups – making it impossible for the ACLJ's clients to exercise their First Amendment freedoms. The ACLJ contends that the hostile climate set the stage for the unprecedented illegal targeting by the IRS.
"Today's development does nothing to alter our lawsuit on behalf of 41 organizations challenging the IRS," said Sekulow. "We continue to move forward with our legal challenge. For those clients who have been in limbo for as long as three years waiting for the IRS to act on their tax-exempt applications, this development is disturbing and unacceptable. The IRS is now attempting to change the rules to further restrict their free speech even before it acts on pending applications."
The ACLJ represents 41 organizations in 22 states. Of the 41 groups, 22 organizations received tax-exempt status after lengthy delays, 12 are still pending, 5 withdrew applications because of frustration with the IRS process, and 2 had their files closed by the IRS after refusing to answer the unconstitutional requests for more information.
For many months now, the Obama Administration has repeatedly stated that federal investigators are conducting a probe into the IRS targeting scheme. However, to date, not one of our clients has been contacted by the FBI or any other federal investigative body.
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SOURCE American Center for Law and Justice