Tags: IRS Scandal | irs | tea | party | scandal

American Center for Law and Justice: We Don't Know Where IRS Scandal Ends

Thursday, 30 May 2013 05:24 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The number of conservative groups targeted by the IRS now stands at a whopping 400 and continues growing, according to the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents dozens of them in lawsuits.

"This is just the beginning of what is going to be a probably approaching 50, maybe even more plaintiffs in the case," Jay Sekulow, the center's chief counsel, told "The Steve Malzberg Show'' on Newsmax TV.

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"It's probably the biggest piece of litigation we've ever filed . . . Our email boxes are full of organizations [from] around the country. It looks like they targeted about 400."

Earlier this month, the IRS apologized for what it admitted was "inappropriate" targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to determine whether they were in violation of tax-exemption laws.

During the scrutiny, IRS agents zeroed in on groups that included such words as "tea party" or "patriot" in their paperwork. In some cases, the groups were asked for lists of donors, which violates IRS policy.

Sekulow's group plans to hit the IRS on several strong federal laws, including the Federal Tort Claims Act, which enables individuals to bring forward crimes committed by the federal government.

"We're also asking for a declaratory judgment from the court that the IRS engaged in violating the First and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution by — which they've admitted — was selected targeting of conservative organizations," he said.

"Some of our clients suffered real damages. Some of those organizations lost grants that they were entitled to because they did not get their [tax-exempt] status. Others had before we got involved expenses, accounting, legal fees."

He said the targeting goes well beyond just Tea Party groups, which were the first ones identified in the scandal.

They include pro-Israel groups that look at Jerusalem as Israel's eternal capital.

"[They] were taking a position on Israel . . . contrary to the Obama administration's position. For that they were placed in this dragnet of audits as well," he said.

Sekulow said there is no way to know just how far the scandal reaches.

"Frankly, this scandal, we don’t even know where it ends,'' he said.

"You've got the head of tax exemption, [Lois Lerner] taking the Fifth Amendment before Congress. You've got [former IRS chief Eric] Shulman who knew nothing about anything."

In addition, he said he's stunned that Sarah Hall Ingram, who was commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations from 2009 to 2012, is now director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office.

"That should send shockwaves to all of us," he said.

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