It’s a strategy the Obama administration has mastered – the 3-D strategy: Delay, Distract, and Deflect.
I cited that strategy in a post last month when a federal judge in Texas labelled the Obama Justice Department “unethical” and “intentionally deceptive” – calling out the biased behavior of government attorneys in defending President Obama’s unconstitutional Executive order on immigration, a case now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
This time it’s the Obama administration’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that’s back in the spotlight – implementing the 3-D strategy.
We have been in federal court since 2012 challenging the unconstitutional targeting by the IRS of conservative and Tea Party groups. This unlawful scheme was designed to punish organizations because of their conservative political beliefs.
In April, we were in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit presenting arguments on behalf of 38 organizations that we represent in our federal lawsuit. In arguments before the panel, the court was very critical of the IRS. As Judge David B. Sentelle put it: “It’s hard to find the IRS to be an agency we can trust.”
That’s very true. And, you can add that the IRS is an agency committed to concealing the truth and dedicated to delaying the release of information.
That’s why a recent revelation from another lawsuit challenging the IRS bias is so important. It took a series of orders from federal judges and the ongoing pressure of litigation to get the IRS to finally release a list of the organizations it has targeted. The government released the names of 426 organizations.
And, as the Washington Times reports, it’s clear that many groups were targeted simply because of their conservative-sounding names. According to the Washington Times: “Sixty of the groups on the list released last month have the word ‘tea’ in their name, 33 have ‘patriot,’ eight refer to the Constitution, and 13 have ‘912’ in their name — which is the monicker of a movement started by conservatives. Another 26 group names refer to ‘liberty,’ though that list does include some groups that are not discernibly conservative in orientation.”
With the release of this list, I am certain the IRS will use this occasion to once again claim that the targeting is over -- a claim it has made now for several years.
But, that assertion is simply nonsense. The fact is that we still represent two groups that have not been approved by the IRS.
One group – Albuquerque Tea Party – has been waiting more than 6 years since the day it filed its application for tax-exempt status in December 2009. No approval. No denial. Nothing.
As I have stated many times, the IRS is incapable of self-correction. That is why litigation is so important. We have to rely on the federal courts for justice.
And we know that continued litigation -- like the class-action suit that forced the IRS to finally release a list of groups it targeted -- is the only way to force the IRS’s hand in order to expose its targeting scheme.
It’s very clear that the Obama administration is trying to run out the clock.
In the final months of his presidency, President Obama has no intention of getting to the bottom of what happened inside the IRS – or, for that matter, holding anyone accountable for the unlawful targeting scandal.
We’re not going to let the Obama administration run out the clock. The president’s second term may be nearing an end, but our resolve in getting to the truth through our federal lawsuit is only strengthened with each day and will continue – even after he leaves office.
It’s time for the stonewalling to stop and time for the courts and Congress to get to the bottom of this targeting scheme that was coordinated with the help of the Justice Department and other federal agencies.
The bottom line: We intend to obtain justice for those patriotic Americans who were unconstitutionally targeted by their own government.
Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional law. He also serves as a member of President Trump’s legal team. Follow him on Twitter @JaySekulow.