by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Finally, after four and a half years, harassment of conservative groups by the Obama IRS is put to rest, with the media downplaying the story.
A William McGurn column in the Wall Street Journal, November 21, stated that IRS-Tea Party litigation had been settled. A New York Times story on October 27, 2017 reported that the government, in one lawsuit involving 428 groups, “agreed to a multimillion-dollar settlement,” and that, in a second lawsuit comprising 41 groups, damages will not be paid, “but the I.R.S. acknowledged its conduct was wrong.”
It is not clear why the matter dragged on four and a half years. The original Times report on the front page, May 14, 2013 quoted President Obama stating that revelations “that the Internal Revenue Service has singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny” were “outrageous” and “completely contrary to our traditions.” It is fair to ask, if the former president was indeed so outraged by partisan performance at the IRS, why didn’t he order an immediate end to the practice, and compensation to the politically aggrieved? But it is the Trump administration that settled the lawsuits.
The Consent Order Linchpins of Liberty v. United States, the lawsuit with 41 plaintiffs, includes a Declaratory Judgment:
49. The Court hereby declares that it is wrong to apply the United States tax laws, including any and all tax rules, regulations, policies, procedures, and standards of review, to any tax-exempt applicant or entity based solely on such entity’s name, any lawful positions it espouses on any issues, or its associations or perceived associations with a particular political movement, position, or viewpoint.