A federal judge has ruled that the Internal Revenue Service must reveal the identities of the employees who intentionally targeted members of the Tea Party under President Obama, saying the agency “must search all relevant sources” to get to the bottom of the scandal.
The “targeting scandal” made national headlines in 2013 after it became clear the agency was denying non-profit status to Tea Party and other conservative organizations, using key words in application files to flag the groups.
The key words included: patriot, tea party, and Israel.
Judge Reggie Walton also ruled the IRS must provide information over which groups were specifically disqualified, and the agency’s justification for their decision.
“Furthermore, to the extent that the plaintiffs have already received information produced by the government indicating that the plaintiffs were allegedly discriminated against, and that information provides a basis to believe that other such documents exist, the government must search all relevant sources to ensure that all documents responsive to the document request is identified and produced,” wrote the judge in his decision.
“We’re thrilled the judge has taken this step and it feels good to have it recognized that they need to be held to account,” said an individual who was targeted by the IRS. “What happened to me was very personal—my name was thrown around the IRS, and the names of the people involved need to be known. What they did was criminal.”
After the scandal broke, then-head of the IRS Lois Lerner admitted the agency’s mistake when applying heightened scrutiny towards conservative organizations.
“That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. … The IRS would like to apologize for that,” she said.
h/t Washington Times