Today the Republican National Committee (RNC) filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for withholding records sought by the RNC’s 2013 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. In the initial request on May 21, 2013, the RNC sought to review documents and correspondence related to criteria used for reviewing and approving 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations. This request followed revelations that the IRS had been targeting conservative organizations, and the RNC sought to shed light on who had ordered actions to be taken against those groups and why.
Over the course of the last 226 business days, the IRS requested several extensions in order to complete the RNC’s request, but has yet to present the information. The RNC believes the undue delay in producing the requested documents is unacceptable and inexcusable, given that many of these documents have been already produced to other requesting entities. Release of the requested documents is in the public interest, as Americans deserve to know how the IRS interprets and enforces the tax laws—and why it would deliberately target people because of their values and beliefs.
“We’re filing this suit because the Obama administration has a responsibility to be transparent and accountable to the American people. The IRS has a legal obligation to answer our inquiry for these records,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. “On Tax Day especially Americans deserve to know whether they can trust the agency to which they’re sending their taxes.
“If the IRS and the Obama administration don’t have anything to hide, why not answer the request? Their delays and distractions make Americans think they’re trying to cover up their actions, just like ex-IRS employee Lois Lerner. We’re going to keep fighting to hold the IRS and Obama administration accountable because Americans deserve a government that treats them fairly and not one that harasses them because of their beliefs nor an administration that goes after its perceived political enemies.”