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Thomas Gallatin / Oct. 27, 2017

Gov't Settles With Tea Party Groups for IRS Targeting

There will be payouts to conservative groups abused by the IRS, but still little real accountability for the guilty.

On Thursday, the U.S. government apologized for the IRS scandal of illegally targeting Tea Party groups during the Obama administration. Barack Obama’s enemies list sidelined literally hundreds of conservative organizations looking to exercise their free speech rights during the 2012 election. Attorney General Jeff Session slammed “the last administration,” saying that the targeting “was wrong and should never have occurred.” Sessions continued, “There is no excuse for this conduct. Hundreds of organizations were affected by these actions, and they deserve an apology from the IRS.” Indeed, though if Obama won re-election because of this weaponization of government, an apology is woefully inadequate.

The government reached a “very substantial” settlement agreement in a class action lawsuit that had been brought by more than 400 conservative groups illegally targeted by the IRS. Edward Greim, the lawyer representing the targeted groups, said, “A true reckoning is finally up to the agency itself. Until the IRS itself steps forward to admit what really happened, we cannot have faith that the same abuse won’t be repeated again.”

While this settlement is indeed a win for those who suffered under Obama’s politicized IRS, it does not close the book on the issue. Several new filings have been raised that specifically single out the former IRS director of Exempt Organizations, Lois Lerner, for her role in “failing” to stop the targeting by IRS employees. Recall that in 2015 a joint Justice Department and FBI investigation found “substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia,” and yet dubiously “found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution.”

Tom Zawistowski, head of the Portage County Tea Party in Ohio, believes that Lerner should have faced criminal charges for her role in attempting to hide the agency’s activity while still approving of the targeting tactics. To date no evidence has come to light directly linking the IRS targeting scandal with the Obama White House — nor will it, thanks to a deft use of cutouts and other tactics to avoid leaving fingerprints.

And this is what so frustrates many Americans. When laws have been clearly violated, those in Washington who are guilty of having violated the law are seemingly immune to having to face any criminal liability or accountability. Lerner is enjoying a lucrative retirement. The scandal is simply swept under the rug and business continues as usual. This is why the swamp must be drained, as more and more Americans have lost their faith in government.

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