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. Bobby Ray

    This has been investigated to death and Yes, the "patriot" and "tea party" groups received scrutiny as to whether they political groups or non profits. That is the job of the IRS. Even though they are political groups, not a single one lost their undeserved tax exempt status, although some "progressive" groups did.

    Issa is a partisan fisherman like Kenneth Starr before him, he will investigate until a crime is found whether it occurred or not.

    April 15, 2014 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    That's justified.

    April 15, 2014 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    If the contributors to all these 401(c)(3) organizations are such patriots, then they should be PROUD to have their names and contributions amounts disclosed to the American public so we can all thank them!


    April 15, 2014 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  4. John

    all "primarily political organizations" should NOT get any tax exempt status............ever..........this applies to both parties....the IRS was doing there job, just not good enough.............ALL APPLICATIONS SHOULD BE DENIED....

    April 15, 2014 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  5. sadlyperturbed

    They never bother to mention that the only group turned down for status was a liberal group. It's more convenient to ignore the facts.

    April 15, 2014 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  6. Pete

    Maybe if Mr Cummings brings Issa up on congressional ethics charges maybe just maybe you'll get some truth from the scandalous republicans..It seems they spend millions chasing numerous incidents like Benghazi,IRS,Fast ,Furious to no avail..Put that energy to use creating jobs ,infastructure bills and they might come out of the cellar in polls by midterms which for them is probibly unlikely..

    April 15, 2014 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  7. Dusty

    It nice that they can take a break from all the jobs they haven't created!!!

    *RIP RNC*

    April 15, 2014 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  8. OrmondGeorge

    NICE!!! Let's elect MORE Republicans (TEAPublicans) to take more foolish actions that will prove they're foolish and little more.

    April 15, 2014 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  9. Cindy

    No one should be allowed to plead the fifth who collects a paycheck paid for by American tax payers, no matter what the case may be. Obama promised transparency, that transparency should include both sides of the isle, no matter who is caught and when.

    The whole idea of the use of the fifth amendment being an option for government workers........ Maybe those who have much to hide won't want a government job if they can't use the 5th to bail out of their messes.

    Do away with the 5th for government employees who grow fat off our tax dollars. If they are caught and found guilty, also do away with their generous pensions if found guilty. It is time to force transparency.

    April 15, 2014 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  10. ShawnDH

    Are Republicans REALLY still chasing this phony "scandal?" Good grief.

    April 15, 2014 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  11. Bill

    The IRS needs to be taken apart afer paying for children who are not living in the US.

    April 15, 2014 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  12. airjackie

    Let's see Grand Theft Auto/Arsonist Rep. Issa has wasted 14 million on fake scandals and now hiring their legal lawyers with taxpayers money. Boehner sued Obama for health care and gave his Republican friend 2 million dollars for a case even Chief Justice Roberts said a freshman law student taking law 101 would know. Well as Congress makes Federal cuts in programs and refuses to help the unemployed it seems Congress and the RNC working together to spend taxpayers money. The shocker is how many seating lawmakers own back taxes and student loans.

    April 15, 2014 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  13. MaryM

    What a freaking joke the RNC is. Yea that will work. Take away an Americans right to plea the 5th.

    April 15, 2014 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  14. jinx9to88

    Let me tell you how informed most GOP supporters are. Guess who rights the tax laws and it not the IRS? Congress rights the tax laws and the IRS in forces the laws. So when the GOP wants to say sue the IRS they are actually suing them over the laws the GOP controlled house help create. This is totally political and anyone with a brain can see it.

    April 15, 2014 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  15. ak_steve

    GO after the IRS but let the Bankers get away with everything. The GOP is pure corruption.

    April 15, 2014 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  16. vortex100

    Another futile gesture from the Republicans? Will they never learn? [sigh]

    April 15, 2014 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  17. Kath

    Wow, continuing to obsess over faux scandals that are years old and frankly are meaningless. WE all ought to ask why these organizations, should even BE tax exempt when they are ALL political; THAT is the issue. INSTEAD Republicans take action on absolutely NOTHING. No approach to immigration, No plan for creating jobs HERE, No plan to close any tax loop holes; No plan for health care once they tear everything down; ONLY regressive; make it HARDER to vote; INVENT voter fraud; REMOVE women's legal right to an abortion; CLOSE Planned Parenthood; RAISE the military budget; yet focus cost savings on the working poor; constant unmitigated hate mongering for our government which is frankly pretty damn awesome. NAME ONE POSITIVE ACTION REPUBLICANS HAVE TAKEN. Closing the government? PRAISING Putin, holding this cattle guy up as an ICON; constantly DENIGRATING our government yet spending BILLIONS to hold government positions?

    April 15, 2014 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  18. judge

    Who cares! Is this really news?

    April 15, 2014 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  19. liltman

    When you have nothing to offer to resolve the real problems of the nation, make up conspiracies and "scandals." The Republicans have not done a positive thing for our country in recent history. They have not solution to the economy, jobs, the Middle East, etc. So they contrive diversions. IRS's job is to review, obtain documentation and reject or approve applications for tax exempt status. We've all heard of Teaparty Candidates, Teaparty Congressmen, Teaparty political demonstrations, Teaparty disruptions of Democratic Town Hall Meetings, etc. So when IRS received 74 applications from Teaparty groups, they were in a quandary. They wanted to be consistent with their approval or rejections. So they did the smart thing and tried to isolate Teaparty applications. Now the Teaparty claimed that they did not spend more than 40% of their time in political activity. They said they spent the majority of their activity teaching their members about the Constitution. So IRS asked for documentation in the form of Meeting Announcements showing which sections of The Constitution would be covered. Books used to instruct the members. Minutes of meetings showing which sections were covered . etc. 35 of the 74 applicants withdrew their applications when asked to submit documentation. Obviously it didn't exist. So the remainder ran to their Congressmen who were outraged and thrilled that they had a new scandal since Benghazi and other contrived scandals weren't working out too well. And Cong. Boehner announces that he wants to see who goes to jail. So Ms. Lerner's attny tells her to plead the 5th since Issa and Boehner are looking for a patsy to indict. Notice that not one Republican, especially Issa, is defending the Teaparty as being qualified for the type of tax exemption they seek? The time frame for making a decision is immaterial since the organization can operate under the status that they applied for until the IRS rules otherwise. So this is all much ado about nothing. The Republicans are trying to divert Americans from their inability to resolve our real problems.

    April 16, 2014 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  20. mike

    Republicans wasting public funding prosecuting citizens at sham hearings based on a bogus report.

    April 16, 2014 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  21. Ron L

    ALL of you need to WAKE UP!!! This is just another political stunt "distraction" to make those of you that are gullible enough to believe the Republican party actually cares about the everyday person. The IRS was NOT focusing only on the conservative political groups, they also reviewed just as many liberal groups. You see it is EASY to inflame people who already have a bias. The Republicans have spent 340 days out of the year CLAIMING the IRS was "picking" on the conservative groups, so of course many people who already believe this are going to support it. Check the facts it's just not true.
    And this accusation that Lois Lerner is protecting the IRS is total nonsense. She has a right under the law to plea the 5th and it is this easy for the Republicans in the House to get around this. Congressman Issa has to say JUST 10 WORDS for this problem to go away, " You will be given immunity for any testimony you give." You see the 5th amendment protects, YOU yes I mean EVERYONE of us from being forced into saying something that can land us in jail. The simple word "immunity" removes that problem. But you will NEVER hear the Republicans offer it. Because they want the SPECTACLE not the facts. You see many of us are easily distracted with the "bright light" instead of focusing on the nuances of the situations before us. REPUBLICANS, do us all a favor, start pushing for Ms. Lerner to be given immunity and lets see what she has to say. It is time to get the facts and MOVE ON!!!!

    April 16, 2014 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  22. mike

    no request shall be grated to the sham comittees

    April 16, 2014 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  23. TheSadTruth

    How about the GOP tries to actually WORK on some problem- plenty to pick from, INSTEAD OF MERELY COMPLAINING 110% of the time?!

    April 16, 2014 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  24. J.V.Hodgson

    I am just a very good friend of the local village idiot who in many cases can fix problems the experts cannot. this is what he said to me as I bought him weekly Big mac.
    If applicants for tax exempt status included " tea party" / " patriot" dose words mean I'm a republican supporter . I said Yeah that's the problem.
    He said no pal you got that wrong cause to be tax exempt they have not to be majority money spenders on politics for whichever party.
    QED he says they were political applications rightly subject to review under Existing Tax laws as 501 c4s.
    I apologise my local village idiot is an ex constitutional law expert and attorney dis barred as a result of drug convictions and others many year ago and has been unable to get any job or work since coming out of prison.
    He' s right..... he says if Issa really wants Lois Lerner his quickest and best only route was thru criminal proceedings. He can't do that so will drag out the matter via contempt of senate rules which will take months and months before it gets court when her 5th amendment rights will be upheld ... he says 99% certain.
    Issa is a SAD,SAD, JOKE!!

    April 16, 2014 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  25. Gatecrasher

    The IRS would have been negligent not to investigate blatant anti-government political operations such as the Tea Party who advocate tax avoidance as their mantra and seek to declare themselves as non-profit/non-political entities in order to evade income tax laws. What the GOP is trying to accomplish is to bar the IRS from "profiling" these right-wing extremist political operations altogether. Sort of like telling the Dept. of Homeland Security to ignore any group associated with Al Qaeda.

    I commend the IRS for doing their job. Now if we could only get the Republican obstructionists to accomplish something... anything of substance we'd really have something to celebrate. But that won't happen with this new extremist generation of "cut taxes and spend" so-called conservatives who's only goal now that they have bankrupted the treasury is to continue to outsource our economy and slash taxes to the point our government can no longer function.

    April 16, 2014 03:28 am at 3:28 am |
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