Judge dismisses lawsuit accusing IRS of targeting groups

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed two lawsuits against the Internal Revenue Service related to the agency’s treatment of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, ruling that no remedy was necessary because the groups’ applications were ultimately approved.  http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2014/10/23/?entry=3459&_php=true&_type=blogs&partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0
“The allegedly unconstitutional governmental conduct, which delayed the processing of the plaintiff’s tax-exempt application and brought about this litigation, is no longer impacting the plaintiff,” Judge Reggie B. Walton, of the United States District Court in the District of Columbia, wrote in a 23-page decision. He was referring to the lead plaintiff, True the Vote, a Tea Party-affiliated group.
“Unless an actual, ongoing controversy exists in this case, this court is without power to decide it,” Judge Walton added.
The I.R.S. has acknowledged that it acted improperly when it held up tax-exempt applications from True the Vote and dozens of other conservative-leaning groups in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, using search terms like “Tea Party,” “Patriot” and “9/12.”
The agency’s motivation in doing so has been the subject of several investigations and Republican-led hearings in the House. Along the way, Republican lawmakers have cited one I.R.S. employee for contempt of Congress and accused the agency’s leaders of stonewalling their inquiries.
“We are stunned by today’s judgment,” True the Vote’s president, Catherine Engelbrecht, said in a statement. “The notion that the I.R.S. can target Americans for years because of their political beliefs is reprehensible.”
She added that the group was “considering all legal options.”

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