A three-judge panel of a federal appeals court eviscerated the Internal Revenue Service for dragging its feet in producing the names of organizations it has targeted based on their conservative leanings.
The Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, in its unanimous decision, gave the IRS just two weeks to produce the documents in its possession.
“The lawyers in the Department of Justice have a long and storied tradition of defending the nation’s interests and enforcing its laws … The conduct of the IRS’s attorneys in the district court falls outside that tradition,” the opinion said.
Citizens for Self-Governance, the group funding the class-action lawsuit, applauded the court’s decision.
“We are very pleased that the 6th Circuit had smacked down the IRS and its thuggish DOJ lawyers,” Mark Meckler, the group’s president, told Fox News, who described the tax collecting agency as an “un-redeemable organization.”
Fox News reported:
The NorCal Tea Party Patriots sued the IRS in 2013 after a Treasury inspector general concluded the IRS had unfairly singled out for extra scrutiny conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
For the civil suit, the NorCal Tea Party Patriots requested information from the IRS detailing the organizations targeted — information they say they have not received or has been wrapped up in legal red tape. The panel of federal judges agreed.
In the 17-page opinion, [Judge Raymond] Kethledge laid out a list of requests NorCal made to the IRS that were either ignored entirely or stuck in a legal runaround. In one, the IRS demanded NorCal provide 3,000 pages of what the inspector general called unnecessary information. In turn, the IRS then claimed it would be “unduly burdensome” for it to provide such information as the names of IRS employees who worked on the case.
“The lawsuit has progressed as slowly as the underlying applications themselves: at every turn the IRS has resisted the plaintiffs’ requests for information regarding the IRS’s treatment of the plaintiff class, eventually to the open frustration of the district court,” the judges claimed in court documents.
The agency argued that by providing names on its “Be on the Look Out” list would violate privacy laws, and it has twice sought a writ of mandamus to block the lowers court’s orders to produce the records.
“The district court ordered production of those lists, and did so again over an IRS motion to reconsider. Yet, almost a year later, the IRS still has not complied with the court’s orders. Instead the IRS now seeks from this court a writ of mandamus, an extraordinary remedy reserved to correct only the clearest abuses of power by a district court,” Kethledge wrote for the panel. “We deny the petition.”
Another interesting note: Although the Sixth Circuit issued its scathing opinion on Tuesday, none of the big three traditional network news outlets — ABC, CBS and NBC — reported on it.
The agency is also getting hit by the legislative branch. Congress is calling for the ouster of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
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