It’a little late, but…
The Internal Revenue Service has settled two lawsuits for targeting of conservative and “Tea Party” groups during the Obama administration.
Fox News Reports the settlement agreements required the IRS to issue a formal apology in one case and make what is being termed a “generous multi-million dollar” payout in another.
The IRS singled out and slow-walked tax-exempt applications from groups with words and phrases such as “tea party,” “patriot,” and “conservative” in their names during the Obama years.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement praising the settlement and condemning the practice of Obama’s IRS.
“There is no excuse for this conduct. Hundreds of organizations were affected by these actions, and they deserve an apology from the IRS,” the statement read, calling the practice, “wrong” and something that “should have never occurred.”
The finding of wrongdoing, however, fails to correct the harm the groups suffered, as many of them were formed in anticipation of the 2012 presidential election and were effectively prevented from getting their message out during the campaign by the IRS’s wrongful actions in delaying the applications.
Attorneys involved in the lawsuits had similar reactions, with one noting that while it was a “great day for the First Amendment, the apology was too long in coming.”
Another pointed out, “This is so sweet. It’s been a long slog to get to this point.”
The apology also carried an admission that applications by conservative groups were treated with “heightened scrutiny” when compared to other groups that didn’t carry the “red flag” signifiers identifying them as conservative.
In some cases, groups waited years for a decision on their application for tax-exempt status that would allow them to take donations from like-minded donors.
Often, the IRS demanded additional information from groups, such as whether members said a blessing before meals shared before meetings.
“It is improper for the IRS to single out groups for different treatment based on their names or ideological positions,” Attorney General Sessions said, adding, “We hope that today’s settlement makes clear that this abuse of power will not be tolerated.”
Former IRS Commissioner Lois Lerner, who led the agency during the scandal, retired with a full pension.
President Trump announced that her replacement, John Koskinen, would be replaced by David Kautter, Treasury Department assistant secretary for tax policy, on Nov. 13, serving in an interim capacity pending a permanent replacement.
Do you think the IRS will treat all applicants for tax-exempt status equally in the future now that it has been made to apologize and pay out millions of dollars for past wrongdoing by the agency under the Obama administration?