The Internal Revenue Service has failed to prove that it has ceased targeting conservative groups, a federal court ruled Friday.
According to Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute Center for Constitutional Studies, a unanimous panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated several lawsuits against the agency over its treatment of conservatives.
“With scathing language, it ruled that a lower court had improperly credited the IRS’s promises that it had ended its abusive targeting and sought to rectify the harms being sued over,” Olson wrote. “In fact, the court said, evidence indicates that the IRS has not only failed to provide adequate guarantees of future good behavior, but continues even now to hassle some of the groups it harassed.”
The IRS had previously argued in lower courts that two cases against them should be thrown out merely because the agency claimed it had taken steps to end its discrimination. The court Friday instead stated that “it is absurd to suggest that the effect of the IRS’s unlawful conduct … has been eradicated.”
“Not only has the IRS not truly forsworn targeting, the court said: it’s even continuing to hassle some of the same conservative plaintiffs!” Olson added.
The court did however state that no IRS employees should be held responsible for the agency’s actions.
As noted by Washington Examiner’s Sarah Westwood, the IRS not only delayed conservatives’ applications but demanded “Internet passwords and user names, copies of social media and other Internet postings and even the political and charitable activities of family members.”
The targeted conservative groups will now have their day in court to fight back against the IRS. Today’s ruling will also undoubtedly strike yet another blow against the credibility of the Obama administration and supporters who downplayed the severity of the agency’s conduct.