RNC files suit against IRS on Tax Day
April 15th, 2014
04:36 PM ET
9 years 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.

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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. Tony

    The IRS scrutinized political groups wanting the 501(c)(4) designation, which is for social welfare groups only. Both conservative and liberal groups were scrutinized. The IRS was doing its job. The RNC should be sanctioned for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

    April 15, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  2. jboh

    "Just sayin" is trolling for his Koch roach paycheck again. A Fed judge just set the precedent for Lerner using the 5th when he granted 5th rights to Cristy's staffers. Remember Lerner was a Bush appointee.

    April 15, 2014 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    -–we are working on Jobs but you can not see it while we are working. Latent working, shhhhh, don't tell any one, we are GOPerville, we do this way...Keep quite, we give you money for being quiet. Shhhhh.

    April 15, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  4. John Smith

    Eliminate all taxes. All for One!

    April 15, 2014 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  5. ksiner

    Thought the house committee on the IRS already put out a report that said they looked at both sides of the aisle equally? Oh wait, they didn't like that outcome, I got it now...

    April 15, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  6. TM

    The TEA nuts are running the RNC.

    April 15, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  7. don in albuquerque

    Deflect, deflect, deflect. Maybe we should all get together and file a suit against the RNC over the government shutdown. We want our 24 billion back.

    April 15, 2014 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  8. TNPatriot

    What a farce. Louise Lerner 'took the 5th' and Issa want to charge her with contempt...of course he has no legal basis, nor authority to charge her in this case. Many members of the committee, both Republican and Democratic have suggested to simply grant her immunity, after all they don't really want her. But Issa, as the chair says no, no, no and everybody scratches their head. Step back and look at this from a Logical standpoint. Louise Lerner is a REPUBLICAN, she is NOT the target, so why would she take the 5th, and why would Issa not want to give her immunity? Could it be that A. there is NOTHING to this outrage AT ALL! or B. Keeping all the attention on Lerner, who has nothing to lose is questionable PR for the Mid term. or C. Is Lerner a GOP plant and given immunity, she may just have to testify that the whole thing was a GOP hatchet job and implicate Issa and others.

    April 15, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  9. waitaminute

    The coverup. Classic case that happens time and time again. Obama will be impeached for his coverup.

    April 15, 2014 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  10. Tom l

    Thanks for your explanation and that seems valid to me. As for Sniffit, unsurprising that he couldn't resist and just answer the question. Dude, at some point you will realize how manipulated you are from both parties just loving how much they have divided us. You act as if dems don't have corruption and aren't rampant with bad people. It's odd to me but when you are so emotionally invested in proving that what you believe is rig this is what happens.

    April 15, 2014 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  11. Tom l

    Those numbers are real but no matter how you slice it. However, I do agree with you that the system is rigged towards the upper income which makes it even more baffling that the very institution that has caused this is the exact same institution that you want to have more control of our money. And the numbers came from the tax policy center. Those percentages are accurate.

    April 15, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  12. DRJJJ

    What's wrong with 50,000 IRS making $100k/year with a tax code that nobody can understand. Fair/flat tax folks is the only way out. It's doesn't favor one party either. Too many working under the table too!

    April 15, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  13. DAVID

    just the fact that the RNC says that the conservative groups they say were targeted solves the problem. they also say that the targets of the IRS were political targets of the IRS. with there own words they have stamped these groups as being political groups. gee! guess what ? you don't get a tax exemption if you are a political group. so i guess i don't get their problem with the IRS who was trying to figure out if these groups were doing a public service to get the exemption or they were not paying income taxes on a political group that was a one sided political group. i am glad the DNC is going the way of filing a suit in court because the court will than hear the filers confirm that these groups are really political and not only don't get a tax exemption but will also owe some back taxes. leave it to a stupid republican to again shoot their selves in the foot. LOL

    April 15, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  14. 21st Century Patriot

    An essential fact that seems to always be left out of these stories is that according to 501(c)(4) rules, NO group organized for a political objective, be it conservative or progressive, is supposed to get tax-exempt status.

    April 15, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  15. Tom l

    You will never find me utter the meaningless term called "fair" because I'm not so arrogant to think I know what you find fair is what I would find fair. It's all relative, big guy. I do know that you have been completely manipulated by democrats and you are their wet dream because you actually want them to have more power and control while neglecting that you are giving more power and control to GOVERNMENT, not democrats

    April 15, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  16. Dave

    Political groups should not be getting non-profit status.

    Good god, conservatives whine so bad it becomes the news.

    CNN, have the guts to report on this story accurately.

    YES conservative groups were targeted. They were supposed to be targeted. It is illegal for political groups to be approved.

    This is the RNC promoting another lie, for their lying base.

    April 15, 2014 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  17. mlwells

    So, I'm supposed to trust the RNC will tell Americans the truth? Yeah, right!! The IRS didn't "target" any specific group – it did what it is expected to do, investigate any/all group requesting tax exempt status to ensure the group (regardless of political persuasion) is ENTITLED to tax exempt. The irony of it all? Those groups were permitted to conduct business as tax exempt entities during the pendency of their applications. Give it a break! I've got a newsflash for the RNC!! Obama is NOT running for office in 2014 or 2016!

    April 15, 2014 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  18. DoubledUp

    Good, now the IRS defense team can subpoena all kinds of records from those supposed 503C organizations and uncover ALL kinds of info about their activities, which will most certainly be deemed "political" and thus NOT exempt from paying taxes. Can't wait for the lying tea baggers to be exposed for the hypocrites that they are.

    April 15, 2014 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  19. Richard

    Sniffit come 2016 they will get the message of a lifetime. Let them get control of both houses because the Democrats will do the same thing the republicans have been doing for the last 6 years. We will only have to do it for two years because when the country elects Hillary, she will get a present of control of both houses. Then this country will be moving forward. I really hope they win the majority because the independents will vote Democrat in droves. If we think President Obama shellacked mittens just wait for 2016!

    April 15, 2014 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  20. srasmussen

    so the tea bag nut cases are at it again wasting more taxpayer money

    April 15, 2014 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    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?

    Proof once again that you can't fix stupid. Put the shoe on the other foot and see how the birdie would sing/

    April 15, 2014 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  22. Anonymous


    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....

    Excuses, excuses, excuses................ Sounds like a guilty person huh.

    April 15, 2014 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  23. Anonymous


    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.

    Nice spin. Over 99% of the groups targeted were conservative groups. Bottom line....No groups should have been targeted by a tax payer funded Government agency.

    April 15, 2014 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  24. MTATL67

    Darrell Issa does NOT have the interest of the average American in mind. onlyhis own power.
    That's why I love the Issa Political Drama Hour.

    April 15, 2014 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  25. MikeinMT


    Top 10 richest members of Congress: 7 Dems, 3 Reps
    Top 9 wealthiest women members of Congress: 8 Dems, 1 Rep
    Only living President that is a member of top 10 wealthiest Presidents Club: Bill Clinton
    Net Worth of HW and W Bush vs. Bill and Hillary Clinton: $52.5M vs. $101.5M

    The most impressive thing about the political le3adership of the left is how they have brainwashed their constituents into believing that the rich are somehow solely members of the Republican party. You people need to wake up, investigate the facts, and start asking your political leadership why, as members of the 1% they feel vindicated in attacking Republicans that are JUST LIKE THEM IN TERMS OF WEALTH!!!

    April 15, 2014 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
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