WASHINGTON, May 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represents 27 Tea Party organizations unlawfully targeted by the Internal Revenue Service, today told a House committee that harassment and abuse is still ongoing, with 10 organizations still facing investigation by a politically-motivated IRS. The ACLJ is preparing a lawsuit to be filed against the IRS next week. Further, the IRS has refused to respond to a demand letter giving the agency until today to approve the tax-exempt status for the ACLJ's pending clients.
"The unlawful and unconstitutional conduct of the IRS will be addressed in a lawsuit to be filed next week in federal court," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "The IRS has refused to respond to our demand letter and has failed to approve the tax-exempt status of 10 of our clients, which are still being targeted and investigated even after the IRS admitted to the corrupt conduct. One of our clients received a follow-up IRS questionnaire seeking more intrusive information just days ago. We applaud the efforts underway in Congress to get to the bottom of what happened - to find out who knew what about this scandal and when. Specifically, we're grateful to the House Ways and Means Committee for today's hearing – the first of many – to put a spotlight on the abhorrent conduct exhibited by the IRS."
The ACLJ provided written testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee today, which is posted here.
"The IRS, as well as this Administration, needs to understand that all Americans are now aware of this unconstitutional targeting of American's First Amendment rights and demand that it cease immediately," the ACLJ writes. "Only transparency and accountability to the Congress and the American public will root out corruption in the IRS."
Sekulow said a federal lawsuit will be filed next week on behalf of a number of conservative organizations. "The lawsuit will name as defendants the Department of Treasury, the IRS, and government officials," said Sekulow. "It will focus on constitutional issues as well damages incurred by the organizations. We will represent a number of our clients, including groups that have received tax-exempt status and groups that are still pending. We also will represent new clients that have approached us since the IRS admitted to its intimidation strategy."
In the demand letter sent to the IRS calling for the approval of the tax-exempt status of the 10 organizations by today or face legal action, the ACLJ also noted that the IRS not only violated its own rules and regulations but "failed miserably" – noting that the "growing mistrust of the IRS is the inevitable (and totally understandable) result of its unwise actions."
The ACLJ represents 27 Tea Party organizations targeted by the IRS. Fifteen have received tax-exempt status. Ten are still pending and two other organizations withdrew because of frustration with the IRS.
Despite the assertion by the IRS that this scheme originated with a couple of rogue agents out of the Cincinnati office, the fact is that the ACLJ's clients have received letters from Cincinnati, but also from two offices in California, El Monte and Laguna Niguel as well as the national office in Washington, D.C. In fact, the Washington office sent a letter to one of our clients as recently as one month ago.
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SOURCE American Center for Law and Justice