It was bound to happen.
A little more than a week after the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) apologized for scrutinizing conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status, a California-based Tea Party group has filed the first lawsuit against the agency. The NorCal Tea Party Patriots are accusing the IRS of violating the group’s constitutional rights due to the “intensive and intrusive scrutiny” the agency applied to its tax-exempt application.
“The IRS engaged in a tactic of suffocating NorCal Tea Party Patriots and other similarly situated groups with requests that were so searching and extensive that they would have presented a serious challenge even for sophisticated businesses,” the complaint says.
The suit seeks class action status on behalf of all conservative and libertarian groups that the IRS targeted. “We stand shoulder to shoulder with all those known and unknown who have been abused by a federal government run amok,” Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler said in a statement.
NorCal Tea Party Patriots’ suit comes on the heels of Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be probing the IRS’s flagging of conservative groups. The Senate Finance Committee and the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committees also are preparing to hold hearings about the scandal. So far, the scandal has seen the departure of one IRS official; the agency’s acting commission Steven Miller resigned last week.
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