Just imagine sending to the Internal Revenue Service a bill for:
Actual damages for violating the Privacy Act.
The costs of complying with additional demands for information about an application.
Loss of donors.
Loss of membership fees.
Damages for the violation of constitutional rights.
Damages for loss of the benefit of tax-exempt status.
Damages for impairment of constitutionally protected rights.
A case of that kind has been filed, with a request to make it class action. A key proponent explained Friday to WND that the ultimate goal is to uncover what former IRS official Lois Lerner wanted to do and did.
It also seeks to uncover what other “responsible parties” were up to regarding the IRS attacks on tea party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt. Evidence has been presented that the discrimination was coordinated to hinder the effectiveness of the groups when Barack Obama was pursuing re-election in 2012.
The legal action was filed in Ohio by an organization called Sue the IRS, which was established under the direction of Mark Meckler.
Meckler formerly was with Tea Party Patriots but now is with Citizens for Self-Governance. Its mission is to restore self-governance to America by connecting “warriors in order to take power away from big government and the big money that influences it … and return the power to its rightful owners, the people.”
That will happen, the group says, through shared values, incumbent accountability, dispersed power and engaged citizens.
“The grassroots must be in the town hall, the public square, or the village green to gather Americans who hunger to regain control of their government and their lives,” the group explains.
Meckler said the government has been trying to get rid of the case.
“The interesting thing to me is the federal government … making allegations that Americans have no right of recourse when government targets them and tries to prevent them from speaking,” he said.
That, he said, is absolutely fundamental to what American is about.
The case is pending on behalf of the Norcal Tea Party Patriots, Faith and Freedom Coalition of Ohio, Simi Valley Moorpark Tea Party, Tampa 9-12 project, South Dakota Citizens for Liberty, Texas Patriots Tea Party, Americans Against Oppressive Laws, San Angelo Tea Party, Prescott Tea Party, the Texas Public Policy Foundation and others.
It wasted no time getting to the point. In paragraph two, it states: “Elements within the executive branch of the federal government, including defendants, brought the vast powers, incomprehensible complexity, and crushing bureaucracy of the IRS to bear on groups of citizens whose only wrongdoing was their presumed dissent from the policies or ideology of the administration.
“In other words, these citizens were targeted based upon their political viewpoints.”
Specifically, the IRS and individuals involved “employed an array of tactics, including extra scrutiny, intimidation, harassment, invasion of privacy, discriminatory audits, disclosure of private information,and years of delay.”
The result was predictable: “A chilling and muzzling of free speech and association.”
The case seeks damages for violations of the federal law, damages against individuals, and injunctive and declaratory relief against the IRS and Treasury Department. Named individually are ex-IRS official Lois Lerner, acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, Chief IRS Counsel William Wilkins, Sarah Hall Ingram of the Tax-Exempt Unit and others.
The case is in the discovery phase in which evidence is being obtained and reviewed.
Some of the facts of the IRS targeting are well known: the agency’s identification of organizations likely to oppose Obama’s policies and the years of delays for the paperwork to be processed. There also were invasive questions, such as the content of prayers.
“The IRS’s knowledge that this discrimination was illegal is evidenced by their scheme to keep the people’s duly elected representatives in the dark about it. When members of Congress asked IRS officials … whether the IRS was targeting certain groups for different treatment, the IRS officials provided misleading and deceptive responses,” the case notes.
Conversely, “there is no evidence that liberal or ‘progressive’ political groups or groups supporting the re-election of President Barack Obama or the election of Democrats were targeted for similar delay.”
Even the IRS referred to the process for “tea party cases,” the lawsuit alleges.
The invasive questions included, in the case of the NorCal Tea Party, details about the board of directors and its activities, copies of all corporate minutes, titles, duties, work hours, names of board members or officers who might run for public office.
The IRS repeatedly demanded information, threatening frequently that if there was no response, “we will assume you no longer want us to consider your application.”
“This conduct has caused irreparable harm to plaintiffs, and there is no other adequate remedy at law. This court may grant declaratory and injunctive relief against the IRS and Treasury Department, … declaring that the defendants’ discriminatory conduct is unlawful and enjoining them from using tax exemption applicants’ political viewpoints to target them.”
Among the questions posed: How did the scheme originate? Who ordered it? Who was involved?
The leadership of Sue the IRS said they intend to “bring those involved in this government overreach and abuse … to light.”
Also in the plan is to recover damages for organizations that were harmed.
And the campaign plans to shine light on the wrongdoing to “deter the IRS and other government agencies from engaging in illegal behavior without the fear of being caught, exposed and brought to justice.”