|By PR Newswire||
|March 11, 2014 04:00 PM EDT||
WASHINGTON, March 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represents 41 organizations in a federal lawsuit challenging the IRS, said today's report by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee underscores what has been apparent for months: former IRS official Lois Lerner's "maliciousness and corruption" are well documented and very clear.
Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa said the 141-page report, posted here, "offers detailed evidence about steps she took to crack down on organizations that exercised their Constitutional rights to free political speech."
"The findings are extremely disturbing but hardly surprising," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "This report underscores what we have known for many months now: Lois Lerner's maliciousness and corruption are well documented and very clear. What is also clear in this report is the extent to which she acted to ensure that the agency intentionally waged a battle against conservative 501(c)(4)'s, violating their rights of freedom of speech and association, because it had an ideological disagreement with the Supreme Court and with the Tea Party. It's not the job of the IRS to overrule the Supreme Court, and it's not the job of the IRS to crush political movements its leaders dislike. Her deep involvement in this scheme raises even more questions about who else was involved - including at the White House."
The report concludes that Lerner, who refused to testify before Congress for a second time last week, strategized with others at the IRS on how to highlight the agency's scrutiny of Tea Party applicants, despite secrecy laws, by provoking groups to challenge IRS rulings in a court case. According to the report, Lerner also expressed concern that the Supreme Court ruling leading to the increase of 501(c)(4) tax-exempt groups would hurt Democratic senators seeking re-election in 2012. As Lerner put it: "They want the IRS to fix the problem."
"Through e-mails, documents, and the testimony of other IRS officials, the Committee has learned a great deal about Lois Lerner's role in the IRS targeting scandal since the Committee first issued a subpoena for her testimony," the report states. "She was keenly aware of acute political pressure to crack down on conservative-leaning organizations. Not only did she seek to convey her agreement with this sentiment publicly, she went so far as to engage in a wholly inappropriate effort to circumvent federal prohibitions in order to publicize her efforts to crack down on a particular Tea Party applicant. She created unprecedented roadblocks for Tea Party organizations, worked surreptitiously to advance new Obama Administration regulations that curtail the activities of existing 501(c)(4) organizations – all the while attempting to maintain an appearance that her efforts did not appear, in her own words, 'per se political.'"
In its federal lawsuit, the ACLJ represents 41 organizations in 22 states. Of the 41 groups, 24 organizations received tax-exempt status after lengthy delays, 11 are still pending, 5 withdrew applications because of frustration with the IRS process, and 1 had their file closed by the IRS after refusing to answer the unconstitutional requests for more information.
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SOURCE American Center for Law and Justice