IRS Refuses to Release Secret ‘Church Investigations’ Procedures

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For so many years, the IRS has portrayed itself as an untouchable, protected agency, who can do what it wants, when it wants, to whom it wants. But the Alliance Defending Freedom and Judicial Watch are calling out the IRS in federal court.

The Washington Times shares the details:

Government watchdog groups have filed a motion in federal court to compel the IRS to reveal how it determines when to initiate “church investigations” after accusing the tax-collecting agency of “stonewalling” efforts to bring to light its procedures.

The motion, filed jointly Friday by the Alliance Defending Freedom and Judicial Watch, came in response to a legal settlement struck in 2014 with an atheist organization, which said the IRS had “resolved the signature authority issue necessary to initiate church examinations.”

“The IRS also has adopted procedures for reviewing, evaluating and determining whether to initiate church investigations,” the Freedom From Religion Foundation said in a press release.

But what are these “procedures?”  No one knows.

 “The IRS is not above the law, and Americans deserve to know the truth about the agency’s secret deals with activists,” ADF Legal Counsel Christina Holcomb said in a press release. “The IRS has a legal obligation to explain why it is hiding things or else produce documents. Its ongoing refusal to follow the law is absurd, particularly since much of [what] we are asking for is information that the IRS has already provided voluntarily to Freedom From Religion Foundation.”

To make matters worse, Congress knew this was a problem two years ago.

 A 2014 letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen signed by nine members of Congress asked the agency to provide a copy of the rules for investigating churches.

 “Our country has a long history of religious leaders speaking freely on matters of public discourse,” the letter reads. “Whether it is Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. leading the charge against segregation, or preachers opposed to the Vietnam War, Americans expect their religious leaders to be able to speak freely to their flock without government oversight. The recent agreement by the IRS seems to impinge on these fundamental rights protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion, speech, and assembly.

 “Without government oversight…” If only more members of congress would use those words in their daily vernacular.

Even knowing the infringement of these rights, it took two years and two government watchdogs to bring this issue forward on a national level.

Americans are getting tired of the lying games. The IRS knows it. The federal government knows it. And the courts know it.

 

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On April 12, 2016
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