In a recent law suit settlement the IRS has apparently paid off the Tea Party organizations it had abused. In NorCal Tea Party Patriots v. Internal Revenue Service, No. 13-cv-00341 (Order of April 4, 2018) the government decided to settle. The U.S. Treasury will pay Plaintiffs $3.5 million tax dollars taken from the rest of us in order to keep the case from a public trial.
The Tea Party Scandal
The law suit is one of many that grew out of the IRS’ abuse of conservative and Tea Party organizations in their applications for tax exempt status. If you will recall, the IRS “lost” emails and hard drives of the main actors, while their boss, IRS Commissioner Koskinen, lied about it with an irrepressible smirk on his face. The department head in charge of the operation, Lois Lerner, took the 5th to stay out of prison. Ms. Lerner is now enjoying her generous tax payer funded pension.
Though largely denying violating tax payers’ rights, the IRS admits its handling of these applications was wrong. The IRS made public apologies in several cases.
Cash settlements like this are extremely rare. For a more detailed and as usual, IRS friendly, telling of the story I recommend this article on the Procedurally Taxing blog. The discussion may be a bit technical for most readers, but it covers the case well.
The article offers a number of reasons why the government could have won the case. It suggests a settlement was perhaps premature.
But the Service is disinclined to allow the public to see internal records revealing its actions and motivations. For the Service, internal “transparency” is like a garlic necklace to Dracula.
Three and a half million dollars is a small price for the IRS to have working Americans pay to keep IRS secrets.