IRS smackdown, as judge OKs $3.5 million to tea partyers
Oh, happy day. Once in a while, justice is served, the good guy does win and the Big Bad Wolf at the Little American’s door gets the kick in the arse it deserves.
The Internal Revenue Service was just smacked with a preliminary order from a federal judge to pay up $3.5 million in settlement monies to tea party and conservative groups who were targeted for political abuse by wayward agents.
This was back in 2013, under the Barack Obama administration.
Then, several groups seeking nonprofit status — several tea party groups with similarly minded anti-socialist, anti-progressive, anti-Obama minded sentiments and missions — were halted during the application process and prevented from obtaining the tax-filing credentials they needed to stay solvent.
“These are groups of law-abiding citizens who should have never had their First Amendment rights infringed upon by the IRS,” said Jenny Beth Martin, the president of the Tea Party Patriots, The Associated Press reported. “These are groups that want the government to be accountable.”
They sued — hundreds actually sued — under the lead plaintiff-ship of the Norcal Tea Party Patriots, out of California.
The Justice Department found last year in these plaintiffs’ favor. But the terms of the settlement weren’t made clear at the time.
Now, just Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett set a $3.5 million amount to award the plaintiffs, to be made permanent this July in another hearing in Cincinnati.
This is truly an about-time moment.
And while it’s a win for the groups who were discriminated against and wrongly prevented from receiving their nonprofit exemption status, fact is, those at the top of the scandal — those pulling the dummy strings — have skated.
The IRS back in 2013 admitted some of its wrongdoing, which included denying and stalling applications from groups with words in their applications that included “tea party” and “patriot” and the like.
But the Obama White House announced a couple years later that nobody within the IRS would be prosecuted — that the whole matter was one of poor management, but not political targeting. Sadly, the Justice Department under President Donald Trump declined to take a second look at the leading IRS instigator, Lois Lerner, the woman who headed up the office within the agency that fielded nonprofit applications.
Americans, it seems, will have to be content with the payout, but bite the bullet on the whole blind justice concept, the one where those responsible for terrible acts are held to account for their terrible acts. In other words, $3.5 million’s good — but jail time for those most responsible would’ve been even better. In the end, the IRS still holds too much power.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley.
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