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IRS beats tea party in court
The decisions have major implications for tea party groups suing the IRS over the issue. | AP Photo
By RACHAEL BADE | 10/23/14 3:23 PM EDT Updated: 10/23/14 4:17 PM EDT
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.
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.
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.
— By this reasoning, murder should never go to trial, because the murder is no longer impacting the victim … ?!?
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.
— Wow. Who cares about the “chilling effect” the IRS has on the citizens? The entire point of the probe is to punish people who ABUSE other citizens by using their position in a role of government!
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.
Walton did, however, demand the IRS within 14 days answer for two applications that have not yet been approved nor denied: applications for Patriots Educating Concerned Americans Now and Liberty Township Tea Party. But that footnote was the only part of the ruling that favored the conservative groups.
A furor erupted in May 2013, after a treasury inspector general report blasted the IRS for using discriminatory labels to sort through applicants seeking tax-exempt status using terms like “tea party ” and “patriots.”
Soon after a raft of right-leaning organizations that applied for tax exempt status sued the government. Some had had their applications put on hold for years; others were asked what were later ruled inappropriate questions about donors and political views during the application process.
The groups in their suits alleged that the IRS violated their First and Fifth Amendment rights with the inappropriate “be on the lookout” list that used words like tea party to hold up their applications. They sought monetary relief for their trouble as well as injunctive relief barring the IRS from discriminating against conservative groups again.
The agency has since changed its practices, including scrapping the lists.
When the suit was filed, 22 of the groups had already received their tax-exempt status, five had dropped their applications altogether and just over a dozen were still waiting to hear from the IRS.
Since then, the IRS had approved all but two, rendering much of the arguments moot, the judge said.
True the Vote tried to argue that the IRS could at a later time re-employ its old targeting scheme or audit the group unfairly as retribution for its lawsuit, but the judge didn’t buy that argument.
He said, since the defendant is the government, “there is less concern about the recurrence of objectionable behavior.” He also said the future worries about unfair audits were “speculative.”
“[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,” he said, citing IRS documents on the steps they’ve taken to ensure targeting doesn’t happen again.
In another victory for the IRS officials who have been sued as individuals for their actions, Walton said the groups could not receive monetary damages from them, citing a previous case that found allowing such would “make the collection of taxes chaotic if a taxpayer could bypass the remedies provided by Congress simply by bringing a damage action against [IRS] employees.”
An interesting perspective…from a military point of view…and, yes, using 2014 basic pay tables….and, granted, the E-1 and the E-5, both eat for free…although it may well be an MRE…seems to me that if the $15 “living wage” is instituted…then the military base pay table is in need of a drastic up-tic….
$20 Hamburgers or minimum wage?
For those fast food employees striking for $15 an hour, let’s do some math…
At $15 an hour Johnny Fry-Boy would make $31,200 annually.
An E1 (Private) in the military makes $18,378.
An E5 (Sergeant) with 8 years of service only makes $35,067 annually.
So you’re telling me, Sally McBurgerflipper, that you deserve as much as those kids getting shot at, deploying for months in hostile environments, and putting their collective asses on the line every day protecting your unskilled butt!?
Here’s the deal, Baconator, you are working in a job designed for a kid in high school who is learning how to work and earning enough for gas, and hanging out with their equally goofy high school pals.
If you have chosen this as your life long profession, you have failed.
If you don’t want minimum wage . . . don’t have minimum skills.
No need for us to worry about the virus from Africa. He only has two more years in office.
If you haven’t seen Senator Ted Cruz’s uplifting speech from the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit last Friday, I hope you can watch it today: http://www.cruzcrew.gop/vvs14/
In it, he provided a clear vision for victory. As he stated, reflecting on Psalm 30:5, “Joy cometh in the morning.” My friends, morning is coming.
Cruz’s inspiring speech earned rave reviews from the media, too.
Politico reported, “Sen. Ted Cruz captivates Values Voter Summit.”
U.S. News and World Report’s headline said “At Value Voters Summit, Ted Cruz Hits His Mark.”
The Hill noted Cruz received “a rockstar’s reception from the crowd.”
The Washington Times reported that he “drew a standing ovation from the crowd…even before he spoke” and “brought the crowd to its feet multiple times” throughout.
Breitbart said, “Cruz gave a passionate speech about religious liberty and faith. Invoking personal stories from his own life, the senator highlighted the power of hope in the darkest of times.”
The Daily Beast said “the first-term Texas senator repeatedly brought attendees to their feet as he hit every note perfectly for the crowd” and that “Cruz’s words electrified the room.”
This week, Cruz also sat down with Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol for a discussion about, as Kristol said, what is “Beyond Obama.” After writing that Cruz’s commentary was “sound and intelligent” Kristol wrote:
Today’s conservative task is daunting. But it’s also exciting. The business founder Peter Thiel asks, when was the last time an American politician really envisioned, in a serious and plausible way, a future qualitatively different from the present or the immediate past? His answer? Ronald Reagan, speaking at the Berlin Wall in June 1987. Reagan envisioned a world without the Soviet Union. And then it came to pass. That was a generation ago. Reagan remains an inspiration and a model for American conservatives. But the times require not Reaganite nostalgia but a neo-Reaganite agenda. Younger Republican candidates and bolder Republican officeholders sense this.”
Ted Cruz senses this. He has not hesitated to speak out and challenge Washington’s conventional foreign policy thinking, just like Kristol said.
On Sunday evening, Cruz published a Politico op-ed questioning why the Obama Administration is moving forward with nuclear negotiations with Iran while they continue to hold Americans, including Pastor Saeed, in prison. Cruz wrote:
U.S. leaders should not fall into the trap of blindly assuming that just because our enemy Iran hates our enemy ISIL, it means that Iran is now our friend. We would do much more to defend the national security interests of the United States by seeking common cause with our real allies in the region than by pursuing some misguided and dangerous attempt at détente with the Islamic Republic of Iran. We should also insist that if the Iranians want a seat at the negotiating table, they must start by releasing the American citizens unjustly detained in their country. It’s time.
Cruz is demonstrating the bold, clear leadership our nation needs.
Whether it’s the economy, our out-of-control federal government, amnesty, religious freedom, foreign policy, or any other important issue, Ted Cruz rises to the occasion to fight for our liberties.
As shown from his speeches and remarks this week, he is a clear-thinking, inspirational leader. His message is confident and reminds us of our American greatness. With your help, more people can hear that message.
National Petition to Slash U.S. Funding of the United Nations
Whereas, the United States spends as much as a whopping 1.2 BILLION TAX DOLLARS in annual dues payments to the United Nations;
Whereas, we also pay $2.2 BILLION, or more than 28 percent, of the UN peacekeeping budget, and in addition, there are the “voluntary payments” that finance UN programs and funds, like UNICEF, so that in one recent year the U.S. paid the UN a record total of $7.7 BILLION;
Whereas, the U.S. pays 25 percent of all UN expenses annually, more than all of the other permanent members of the Security Council combined;
Whereas, this money is used to provide a platform for nations that despise us and oppose our American values of democracy, justice, free enterprise, privacy and private property rights;
Whereas, our tax dollars are paying for a rag-tag collection of dictators and socialists to propagandize and work against our security and economic interests;
Whereas, when we try to isolate the rogue dictatorships that are developing nuclear weapons and posing threats to our nation’s and the world’s security, we are often met with NO votes and multiple veto threats, while the UN eagerly hosts a string of dictators who come to our soil and attack our policies and insult us;
Whereas, when the United States rushed to help the injured, starving and dying in the wake of the massive earthquake in Haiti, we were accused by a UN official of trying to “occupy” the nation;
Whereas, the UN is worse than a wasteful, bloated paper tiger — it is a paper tiger intent on biting the hand that feeds it — the United States of America;
I, therefore, demand that Congress SLASH the billions of tax dollars we spend on the United Nations! Are you listening?