The Albuquerque Tea Party has received a decision on their request for tax-exempt status. It came just a little later than expected. How much later? Almost seven years after applying the tea party group got denied tax-exempt status.
Even now that decision came with the IRS dragging it’s heels. The IRS had to be forced to deal with three Tea Party groups that were very much delayed under orders of a federal judge. Only one of the three groups got approved. The other two – including the Albuquerque group – got denied.
The groups have the option to appeal the decision but the group’s chief counsel, Jay Sekulow, said: “It is clear that we still have an IRS that is corrupt and incapable of self-correction,”
The only group that was approved is the Michigan-based Unite in Action. They applied for tax-exempt status more than six years ago. Next to the Albuquerque group, Tri City Tea Party from Washington State was also denied in their request.
Even though the Michigan-based group was finally approved, the more than six year waiting period is gross overreach of IRS power and a clear-as-day example of the targeting of conservative groups by the agency.
Recently IRS commissioner John Koskinen appeared in front of the House Judiciary Committee to face impeachment charges leveled by congress due to his role in the Lois Lerner targeting scandal. Under Lois Lerner’s leadership the IRS only approved one conservative group non-profit status in the three year period of 2009 to 2012.
The finishing of these three applications after a staggering seven years doesn’t mean the end to this controversy though. Another group, the Texas Patriots Tea Party, still hasn’t received a decision on their application. They are part of a class-action lawsuit against the IRS in Ohio in which last week, on November 6, a judge granted a preliminary injunction against the IRS on strong evidence of discrimination based on the conservative background of the groups.
This case is of extra interest because of the fact that the discrimination happened after May 2012 when, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s report, the IRS changed their sorting system for political cases.
The filed injunction will force the IRS to deal with the application like they would with any other but one can’t help but imagine this is nigh impossible after years of consistent discrimination against conservative groups.
Regardless of what happens, a federal agency delaying an application for almost seven years before denying it is unheard of and completely unacceptable. The IRS needs a complete overhaul to get rid of the anti-conservative bias that has infested the agency.