A Christian law firm is expanding its lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service, saying the agency’s “intimidation campaign” against conservative organizations is more politically motivated and coordinated than previously thought.
The American Center for Law and Justice announced on Friday it has filed a second amended lawsuit in federal court in Washington, DC, adding additional defendants. David French, senior counsel for the ACLJ, says additional evidence reveals a politically motivated attack on conservative and tea party groups by the IRS because of their political beliefs.
"It really is astonishing when you put together the complete timeline how much IRS action followed directly after some very ugly, very targeted statements by the president of the United States,” the attorney tells OneNewsNow.
The amended complaint contends that public comments by President Obama – in conjunction with a “climate of hostility” created by congressional Democrats and the media – pressured the IRS to adopt a more rigorous standard for conservatives when applying for tax-exempt status than was applied to liberal organizations. That pressure, asserts ACLJ, made it impossible for their clients to exercise their First Amendment freedoms and “set the stage for the unprecedented, illegal targeting” by the IRS.
The lawsuit, French explains, wants to guarantee accountability from the Internal Revenue Service.
"We have seen that the IRS has a vindictive streak. The IRS is undeterred by things like the Constitution and federal law in pursuing its vindictive streak,” he says. “So we're wanting to make sure there is adult supervision on the IRS and that there is a judicial order preventing them from taking negative action against these conservative groups."
While some progress has been made, French says an inexcusable number of organizations are still facing the same level of scrutiny that they were facing before – with the same lack of progress.
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In the lawsuit, ACLJ continues to represent 41 organizations in 22 states. Of those 41, 22 have been granted tax-exempt status (after lengthy delays) and 12 are still pending. ACLJ says five withdrew their applications due to frustrations with the IRS process, two had their files closed by the IRS after the groups refused to answer unconstitutional requests for more information.
Related column on Fox News by ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow: Obama’s fingerprints all over IRS Tea Party scandal