RNC files suit against IRS on Tax Day
April 15th, 2014
04:36 PM ET
3 months ago

RNC files suit against IRS on Tax Day

(CNN) – The Republican National Committee announced Tuesday, the day Americans file their taxes, it's suing the Internal Revenue Service over withholding records involved in the agency's targeting of conservative and other groups.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-California) has spent nearly a year investigating why the agency used conservative political terms like "Tea Party" and "patriot" to flag some applications for tax-exempt status.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said his group filed suit on Tuesday against the IRS over its legal obligation to fulfill the RNC's request to review documents in the IRS used in its criteria for determining tax-exempt organizations.

"On Tax Day especially Americans deserve to know whether they can trust the agency to which they're sending their taxes," Preibus said. "If the IRS and the Obama administration don't have anything to hide, why not answer the request?"

Priebus said the RNC made the request last May, nearly one year ago, and since then, the IRS has asked for several extensions to fulfill the request but has yet to provide the RNC information, as required under the Freedom of Information Act.

Last year, reports surfaced that conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status were being targeted by the IRS, sparking outrage from Republicans and calls of misconduct by the Obama administration. Disclosures later revealed, however, that the IRS targeted liberals as well as conservatives in assessing applications for tax-exempt status.

The IRS has said it was not targeting groups out of political bias, but because it was trying to determine whether the groups' primary activities were social welfare, rather than political activity.

The RNC's announcement comes after the Republican-led House Oversight Committee voted 21-12 last week to charge former IRS official Lois Lerner with contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions about the agency's targeting.

CNN's Dana Davidsen and Lisa Desjardins contributed to this report.


Filed under: Obama administration • RNC • Taxes
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    Leave it up to republicans to pull political stunts. Is there anything they don't make a political spectacle out of?

    April 15, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    How cute! Almost all of it is confidential and not public record because it involves specific individuals' and entities' tax records, but hey, it's a mid-term year, so ON WITH THE SHOW! It's time to play the music...it's time to light the lights....

    April 15, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. it must be said

    It is about time. TheI RS and Obama administration have stonewalled and delayed enough. They have used these same tactics over and over. Drag them into court and get court orders. Enough putty footing around with these criminals.

    April 15, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. conniesz

    Why is there never any mention of the "code words" that flagged progressive and liberal groups? It was all ideological groups not just conservatives. But they care so much about the almighty dollar and there were more of their groups using tax exempt status illegally so of course more of them were flagged. Sheesh. The truth is all groups abusing the tax exempt status were targeted, not just conservatives.

    April 15, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. tom l

    salty dog

    Tom l
    The top 1% gained 95% of the wealth since 08, not enough for you, economic experts have long said they pay far to little, what would they know.. that's 95%, to the top 1%, now what about the other top earners, how much do you think is left when you get half way down? Not very much, we've got to stop buying into this, its unfair to the rich BS, they don't even believe it.
    ========

    It's an income tax, not a wealth tax. I don't know why you feel the need to demonize a group of people like you do. They clearly pay a great deal. The term "fair share" doesn't even make sense. What's "fair" to you may not be "fair" to Tampa Tim and it many also not be "fair" to me. It's a worthless, political term used to get the masses angry and create a wedge between groups of Americans based solely on money. By the way, your example is so skewed and misleading it almost doesn't warrant a response but I will try. You are implying that of $100 that is made, $95 went to the "rich" but that's not accurate. Of the rise in income, they received the greatest percentage but that is completely and totally irrelevant to the discussion. The most ironic part of your statistic is that Obama has been president since 2008 so you would think that his policies would have changed that, but that hasn't happened at all. His policies, have exacerbated the issue. If you want to talk monetary policy, then you're really going to be frustrating because his monetary policies benefit the very people that you demonize the most. THAT is on Obama. The bankers sure have increased their wealth with Obama in office and it's due to his policies.

    April 15, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "the Republican-led House Oversight Committee voted 21-12 last week to charge former IRS official Lois Lerner with contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions about the agency's targeting."

    which they could go and get a court order for if they really believed she had waived her 5th Amendment rights. If they won (big if) and she then still refused to answer, she'd be in contempt of court and the court could fine her or even toss her in jail. But you see, the GOP/Teatrolls just want to make a show of it. They want to hold her in contempt of the House because they can force that through with their majority....but they do NOT want to actually create leverage and pressure via the court to force her to speak. Why? Because she's not going to tell the story they want to hear and it's going to unravel their accusations. It's much more effective to let the accusations stand and "unanswered" instead of allowing them to be actually disproven. The only reason she's claiming the 5th is because no matter what answers she gives, no matter how ludicrous the claim that she committed a crime, the GOP/Teatrolls will go ballistic trying to have her prosecuted as a way of "proving" their accusations. "See? She we're demanding she be charged with some unspecified crimes...so that means our accusations were true." Nonsense. It's a very simple choice: Either (a) Take her to court to try to force testimony OR (b) your failure to do so proves that you don't actually believe any of the accusations you're making.

    April 15, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  7. tom l

    Salty,
    Rectify these numbers:
    The top 1% earned 16.9% of income and paid 36.7%
    The top 5% earned 31.7% of income and paid 58.7%
    The top 10% earned 43.2% of income and paid 70.5%

    It is an INCOME tax, not a WEALTH tax. The system is hugely flawed and influenced by money (lobbyists) on BOTH sides of the aisle. Let's have a flat tax instead.

    April 15, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  8. Warren

    it must be said
    It is about time. TheI RS and Obama administration have stonewalled and delayed enough. They have used these same tactics over and over. Drag them into court and get court orders. Enough putty footing around with these criminals

    You're right, you just have the names wrong.. Start with Issa, let's sue him for wasting taxpayers money...

    April 15, 2014 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  9. Gurgyl

    --RNC files suit against IRS, OBAMACARE, GUNS, FORESTS, BIRDS, FISH, OCEAN, NSA, MOUNTAINS, ANIMALS--very pathetic.

    April 15, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. tom l

    Sniffit,
    You really have no idea what Lois Lerner would testify to unless you're privy to her emails and actual information. Since you don't have the information, I would rather trust actually hearing it from her and seeing the evidence rather than your thoughts about what see will say.

    Also, since you're a lawyer you can feel free to correct me on this but didn't she waive her right to plead the 5th with her opening statement she originally made professing her innocence? I'm honestly asking you that because I have heard that would be the case and it makes sense to me because then you're just cherry picking what you want to say. It would seem that once she said that, she lost her right to plead the 5th. Please just give me the honest answer rather than some politically motivated one.

    April 15, 2014 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  11. just saying

    conniesz
    Why is there never any mention of the "code words" that flagged progressive and liberal groups? It was all ideological groups not just conservatives. But they care so much about the almighty dollar and there were more of their groups using tax exempt status illegally so of course more of them were flagged. Sheesh. The truth is all groups abusing the tax exempt status were targeted, not just conservatives.
    --

    more of the same lies from the left. these groups were not targeted in the same manner. the very few progressive groups that were looked at were quickly approved without further questions. but hundreds of conservative groups were denied approval for years, asked for totally inappropriate information and kept out of two election cycles. some went more than 3 years without approval. none of this happened to left leaning groups. and top add to it, the groups were also being harrassed by numerous other government agencies at the same time. this was a widespread and coordinated attempt by the obama administration to suppress conservative election participation. and they were being egged on and encouraged todo this by democrats in congress.

    so please enough of the canned lefty lies.

    April 15, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  12. imalib

    If the government would just take all of my earnings and take complete control of my life, things would be so much better because they know what is best for me and I am just too dumb to be trusted with my own money. I'd only waste it on something I wanted instead of giving it to others so they can buy dope.

    April 15, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. jinx9to88

    This is hilarious!! The GOP crazies know the American people hate the government on tax day so what do they do they sue the IRS. This is total political what they are doing, this is funny.

    April 15, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  14. Thomas

    Darrell Edward Issa will get to the bottom of the RNC's erotic fetish for using Lawyers for psychic advice .

    Why are 90% of Lobbyist Lawyers ?

    April 15, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. Diane

    ....and what about the foreign tax havens the RNC/GOP have overseas
    They should pay taxes in America just like the rest of us.
    .......check on that Reince..........

    April 15, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Silence DoGood

    Totally a stunt! We will now have even more evidence that dollar for dollar investigated, all political types were "targeted". But the stunt will really stir up the conspiracy folks out there. Right now the club house for the ASIIBCGC (Secrets of the Illuminati IRS Benghazi Creationist Gun Club) are buzzing with excitement.

    April 15, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  17. Anderson

    Exactly when will you work on JOBS????????????

    April 15, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  18. Silence DoGood

    What would you do if you paid someone for years for a job and they sat around and did nothing?
    The American people need to sue the GOP and Cruz's home planet for a refund on their salary.

    April 15, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "Rectify these numbers:
    The top 1% earned 16.9% of income and paid 36.7%
    The top 5% earned 31.7% of income and paid 58.7%
    The top 10% earned 43.2% of income and paid 70.5%"
    ===

    Rectify indeed...they certainly came out of your rectum. Ignoring the fact that, because we have so thoroughly established plutocratic economic policies in this nation that actually redistribute the nation's income, wealth and assets UPWARDS, and that it has resulted in a situation in which (a) half of the public either makes nothing or so little, despite working hard, that taxing them is not economically feasible and (b) that the situation is worsening at an ever-accelerating rate (because that's what happens once plutocracy has finally gotten a strangle-hold over policy), is just ridiculously disingenuous. The relative poverty of all those people is, in fact, as a matter of policy in this country, what enables the very very few to be and stay insanely wealthy and become ever more wealthy while the rest of the public is sucked dry. It's economic vampirism, written into our laws in the blood of our middle-class and poor. We may not live long enough to see it finally reach critical mass, but it will. I'm keeping my pitchfork sharp just in case.

    April 15, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  20. O'drama ya Mama

    So are they looking for some sort of settlement? You mean to tell me the Republicans want to take other people's tax dollars that not only dont care about the IRS nontroversy or but weren't even effected by it? Or maybe they are once again, just playing politics.

    April 15, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "Let's have a flat tax instead."

    Yeah, because all the math from expert economists explaining why a flat tax is insanely retrogressive and would do irreparable damage to the poor and middle-class, even though it "sounds fair" on paper to those with a grade-school understanding of tax and economic policy, should just be ignored. Let's just do it because it "sounds fair"....and who cares what the experts say...you know, all fairness should be determined by exercising that sense of playground fairness that was so malleable and amorphous during heated recess kickball sessions. We don't need no stinking math or experts or studies...just "folksy wisdom."

    April 15, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "Also, since you're a lawyer you can feel free to correct me on this but didn't she waive her right to plead the 5th with her opening statement she originally made professing her innocence?"

    Let the court decide. The only conclusion to draw from the GOP/Teatroll failing and refusing to take her to court to attempt to get that ruling is that they don't actually want to hear what she has to say. And you're right, I don't "know" what she'll say, but the documentary evidence that has already disproven the "politically motivated targeting of conservative groups" certainly provides a bit fat hint. The only thing "political" about it was the fact that the rules they were enforcing PROHIBIT POLITICAL ACTIVITY. The only way to check on that is to ask for documents and information.

    Compare: the Dems in the NJ legislature actually bothered to take Stepien and Kelly to court to try to get the order that they could not hide behind the 5th. It didn't work, but THAT'S THE PROPER PROCEDURE. Showboating a partisan, symbolic, political contempt vote just because you have the majority and can do so is a WORTHLESS WASTE OF TIME. If they really wanted to get anything done and get answers, they'd be in court. They don't. Why don't they? You tell me if you think it's not because they know very well that they don't really want the answers she'll give sullying their conspiracy accusations with contrary facts. Go ahead...tell me.

    April 15, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  23. ghostwriter

    tomI, not a lawyer, but I did read the case law on this. From what I read, the courts usually rule in favor of not denying a person's right to plead the fifth. Then, the statement has to be given with the intent of not pleading the fifth. In other words, if she does intend to plead the fifth and that intent is shown, the right is not waived.

    April 15, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "Exactly when will you work on JOBS????????????"

    Oh, but they are: they are actively working on keeping the economy in a shambles and the recovery slow and "job creators" feeling threatened and afraid and uncertain etc. They decided on November 4, 2008 that we all have to be punished for electing "That One" and that the way to achieve it would be to prolong everyone's suffering, prevent any progress and scream non-stop the whole time that it's Obama's fault.

    April 15, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  25. Tom

    If the Democrats want to win in November, they ought to develop a series of ads chronicling the long, long list of boneheaded stunts the Republicans have pulled over the past six years and attach a dollar value for how much of the taxpayer's money Republicans have wasted on government shutdowns, witch hunt investigations and hopeless legal maneuvers.

    April 15, 2014 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
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