IRS’s Harassment of Citizen Groups to Chill Opposition, Protect Incumbent Party, and Influence Presidential Election Outcome Approved by Federal Judge
The IRS notched a major legal victory Thursday after a federal judge dismissed lawsuits brought by more than 40 conservative groups seeking remedies for being singled out in the tea party targeting scandal.
“[T]he Court is satisfied that there is no reasonable expectation that the alleged conduct will recur, as the defendants have not only suspended the conduct, but have also taken remedial measures to ensure that the conduct is not repeated.”
Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia threw out almost all counts brought against the tax-collecting agency in two cases, ruling that both were essentially moot now that the IRS granted the groups their tax-exempt status that had been held up for years
Translation: “They promised not to do it anymore, so it’s okay”
The decisions have major implications for tea party groups suing the IRS over the issue. It appears they have a tough case to make because the IRS, since the controversy broke in 2013, has approved most tea party groups’ applications, which, according to Walton, keeps the court from hearing their cases.
“After the plaintiff initiated this case, its application to the IRS for tax-exempt status was approved by the IRS. The allegedly unconstitutional governmental conduct, which delayed the processing of the plaintiff’s tax exempt application and brought about this litigation, is no longer impacting the plaintiff,” Walton said in his decision to throw out True the Vote’s lawsuit against the IRS.
“The judge, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, also said the groups couldn’t receive monetary relief from individual IRS officials, such as ex-IRS official Lois Lerner, because of the ‘chilling effect’ it would have on tax administration.”
(Chilling political speech of opposition groups is okay, but risking a potential chilling effect on the IRS? No! We can’t have that!)
His reasoning was similar in the second case, where 41 conservative groups banded together to sue the IRS for similar misconduct: “[T]he allegedly unconstitutional governmental conduct … is no longer impacting the plaintiffs. … Counts … are therefore moot.”
The judge, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, also said the groups couldn’t receive monetary relief from individual IRS officials, such as ex-IRS official Lois Lerner, because of the chilling effect it would have on tax administration.
The same judge in August rejected True the Vote’s bid for a court-appointed forensics expert to hunt Lerner’s lost emails, another blow to conservatives seeking outside experts to take the lead on the IRS investigation. Two years’ worth of the former head of the tax-exempt division’s emails were erased in a hard drive crash in 2011, the IRS says. Read the rest of this entry »
Report Finds 6.9 Million Multiple Voters in 28 States: 6,951,484 Overlapping Voter Registrations, ‘Tip of the Iceberg’Posted: October 13, 2014
RICHMOND, Va. — Some 6.9 million Americans are registered to vote in two or more states, according to a report obtained by Watchdog.org.
“Duplicate registration is an open invitation to voting fraud. This ability to vote more than once dilutes the legal votes and changes the results of elections.”
“Our nation’s voter rolls are a mess,” says Catherine Engelbrecht, president of the election-watch group True The Vote.
“Sensible approaches to roll maintenance are fought tooth and nail by radical special interests who can use the duplicity in the system to their advantage,” she said.
[Also see: John Fund’s Voter Fraud: We’ve Got Proof It’s Easy]
The latest interstate voter cross check tallied 6,951,484 overlapping voter registrations, and they’re just the tip of the iceberg.
The cross-check program involves only 28 states and does not include the three largest: California, Texas and Florida.
“Duplicate registration is an open invitation to voting fraud,” said Clara Belle Wheeler, a member of the Election Board in Albemarle County, Va. “This ability to vote more than once dilutes the legal votes and changes the results of elections.”
The interstate cross-check program matches first and last names and dates of birth to identify multiple registrations.But the data are not routinely used to purge duplicates.
“Increasingly lax standards in our election process produce increasingly unreliable results.”
“The few conversations that are had about how to shore up these weaknesses are immediately seized on by certain politicians and special-interest groups as fuel to further divide American voters based on trumped-up race and class-based narratives,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »
Bench Update: Judicial Watch, True the Vote Reach Historic Settlement with State of Ohio in Lawsuit over Clean Voter RollsPosted: January 13, 2014
From the Judicial Watch Press Room (Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch and True the Vote announced today that they have reached a settlement in an August 30, 2012, lawsuit against election officials in the State of Ohio, resulting in an agreement by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to take or continue to take a series of actions to further ensure that the state is in compliance with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).
Under the terms of the settlement, which extend through November 2018, the State of Ohio specifically agreed to take or continue to take the following nine actions relating to voter roll list maintenance and NVRA compliance:
Voter ID didn’t reduce turnout, but the IRS may have.
The 2012 election season was filled with angry cries of voter suppression,â€ almost all of them regarding attempts by states to require voter ID and otherwise improve ballot integrity. Bill Clinton warned that “there has never been, in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the other Jim Crow burdens on voting” the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.â€ Democratic-party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said â€œphoto-ID laws, we think, are very similar to a poll tax.
All of this proved to be twaddle. An August 2012 Washington Post poll showed nearly two-thirds of African-Americans and Hispanics backing photo ID. The Census Bureau has found that the rate of voter turnout for blacks exceeded that of whites for the first time in the 2012 election.
But it now turns out there may have suppression of the vote after all. â€œIt looks like a lot of tea-party groups were less active or never got off the ground because of the IRS actions, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker told me. Sure seems like people were discouraged by it.
Indeed, several conservative groups I talked with said they were directly impacted by having their non-profit status delayed by either IRS inaction or burdensome and intrusive questioning. At least two donors told me they didn’t contribute to True the Vote, a group formed to combat voter fraud, because after three years of waiting the group still didn’t have its status granted at the time of the 2012 election. (While many of the targeted tea-party groups were seeking to become 501(c)(4)s, donations to which are not tax-deductible, True the Vote sought to become a 501(c)(3).) This week, True the Vote sued the IRS in federal court, asking a judge to enjoin the agency from targeting anyone in the future.
Cleta Mitchell, True the Vote’s lawyer, says we’ll never know just how much political activity was curtailed by the IRS targeting. She has one client who wanted to promote reading of the Constitution, but who didn’t even hear back from the IRS for three years – until last Monday, when the IRS informed this client that some questions would be sent.
“I was about to file with the IRS when other tea-party groups started to get harassed,” Pennsylvania activist Jennifer Stefano told Time magazine. “I remember checking with the IRS to see if they wanted the group [Facebook] page or my personal page, and they said ‘All of it.’”
The IRS claims that all of the delays and information demands were rooted in mere mismanagement and misjudgment, a stance that began to look even shakier yesterday when Lois Lerner, the director of the IRS’s exempt-organization division, took the Fifth Amendment before a House committee.