Judge orders IRS to reveal names, reasons in tea party court case
Remember the IRS scandal that broke into the open during the Obama years? You remember, the one where Lois Lerner and assorted bureacrats at the agency specifically targeted tea party and liberty groups for "special treatment?" A federal judge has decided its time for the IRS to divulge the names of which of its employees held things up, and why:
[The judge] ordered the IRS to name the specific employees the agency blames for targeting tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny and said the government must prove it has ceased the targeting.
Judge Reggie B. Walton also said the IRS must explain the reasons for the delays for 38 groups that are part of a lawsuit in the District of Columbia, where they are still looking for a full accounting of their treatment.
Judge Walton approved another round of limited discovery in the case and laid out six questions that the IRS must answer, including the employees’ names, why the groups were targeted and how the IRS has tried to prevent a repeat.
At a hearing earlier this week, Judge Walton said it was time to get everything on the table.
“Lay it on the line. Put it out there,” he told attorneys for the IRS, who are continuing to fight some tea party groups’ demands for full disclosure.
The targeting scandal burst open in May 2013 when the IRS admitted it had been pulling conservative-leaning groups’ nonprofit status applications out of the usual processing queue and subjecting them to extra scrutiny and extraordinary delays because of perceived political activity.
IRS senior executive Lois G. Lerner initially said the problem was rogue employees at an Ohio office who botched the handling. But subsequent investigations revealed that IRS officials at the highest levels of Washington were aware of the delays and extra scrutiny.
Some applications are still awaiting approval, though the IRS as of late last month had agreed to a process for deciding on one of the key outstanding cases.
The IRS has until Oct. 16 to fulfill the judge's order.