IRS fi­nally agrees to act on last case for tea party

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY STEPHEN DINAN

The IRS has fi­nally agreed to a process for de­cid­ing on the last re­main­ing non­profit ap­pli­ca­tion that was snared in the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s tea party tar­get­ing, more than four years af­ter the il­le­gal sin­gling-out of con­ser­va­tive groups for spe­cial scru­tiny was first re­vealed.

In court fil­ings last week, the IRS ac­ceded to rules gov­ern­ing how the tax agency will de­cide whether to grant non­profit sta­tus to the Texas Pa­tri­ots Tea Party, which has been await­ing a de­ci­sion for years.

The agree­ment doesn’t mean the group will be ap­proved, but it sets up a process for mak­ing a de­ci­sion.

“This does pro­vide a path for­ward for TPTP,” said Ed­ward Greim, a lawyer rep­re­sent­ing the group, as well as hun­dreds of other tea party or­ga­ni­za­tions that have The IRS also vowed not to con­sider the ide­ol­ogy of the group’s mem­bers.

The IRS also said it will process the TPTP’s ap­pli­ca­tion as of 2013, mean­ing it can­not deny the group’s ap­pli­ca­tion be­cause of the con­tin­u­ing fight over in­for­ma­tion.

The agree­ment was reached on the side­lines of the class-ac­tion law­suit.

Judge Michael R. Bar­rett re­newed his ban last week on re­lease of tes­ti­mony of Lois G. Lerner and Holly Paz, two for­mer IRS em­ploy­ees who were at the cen­ter of the tar­get­ing con­tro­versy.

Each has been de­posed in the law­suit but com­plained that the re­lease of their tes­ti­mony would spark an­other round of threats to their safety.

Judge Bar­rett said that only at­tor­neys and a small group of plain­tiffs who are sworn to se­crecy will have ac­cess to the tran­scripts.

A full trial is slated for Fe­bru­ary.

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