Federal Judge Reggie B. Walton ruled this week that the IRS must reveal the employees responsible for unfairly targeting conservative groups. Furthermore, the IRS must prove they are no longer targeting these groups, which include many Tea Party organizations.
Walton also said that the IRS must prove why they chose to delay 38 groups that were seeking nonprofit status. These groups are part of the lawsuit which was filed in the District of Columbia. Years after the scandal that involved Lois Lerner erupted, these groups are still looking for answers.
Hopefully, they will soon get them:
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.
Lerner had blamed ‘rogue employees’ at the Ohio IRS office for botching the applications. But investigations following those comments showed that high level IRS officials knew about the delays and scrutiny applied to conservative groups.
Some groups are still waiting for approval. This scandal came to light in 2011. But now Judge Walton is dropping the hammer on the IRS:
Mr. Walton told the IRS to go beyond searching a basic agency database for records and ordered it to scour “other relevant resources containing documents from the relevant time period.”
The judge said that time frame runs from 2009 to March 27, 2015. The IRS had been arguing for a shorter period.
“Furthermore, to the extent that the plaintiffs have already received information produced by the government indicating that the plaintiffs were allegedly discriminated against, and that information provides a basis to believe that other such documents exist, the government must search all relevant sources to ensure that all documents responsive to the document request is identified and produced,” the judge wrote in his order.
The IRS must respond by October 16.