Group to file suit in federal court over IRS targeting

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The American Center for Law and Justice expects to file suit in federal court over the targeting of fourteen of its clients by the IRS soon.

Jay Sekulow, ACLJ chief counsel, told The Daily Caller Wednesday he expects to file suit next week and has a team of lawyers working on the issue.

ACLJ has not decided whether it will file one class action suit on behalf their aggrieved clients or separate suits.

“We are looking at the issue of whether it could be certified as a class or whether we would have to bring each claim as an individual claim,” he explained. “Which would mean we would be filing some in Cincinnati or the District Courts in Ohio, some in the district courts in California, some in the District of Columbia. We are looking at all that.”

According to Sekulow, it is too early in their review process to know whether the conservative groups that the IRS targeted for enhanced scrutiny would qualify as “a class certifiable action.”

“You have a number of aggrieved parties coming out of the same targeting, so we are looking at [a class action suit],” he explained. “The difference in our case is — this is the technical side — some have been granted status and they still may be filing suit because of the fact that they were targeted.”

Of the 27 Tea Party groups  ACLJ represents, 10 are still awaiting responses on their tax exempt status and this week received another letter of inquiry about one of their clients from the IRS. Currently ACLJ has 14 plaintiffs.

“It would be much more judicially economical for the courts and for everybody, to have it in one court, but we don’t have the answer to that yet,” he added, noting that especially after the release of the inspector general report Tuesday he cannot imagine anything that would sway ACLJ against litigation.

The main focus for ACLJ at this point is filing suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

“The claims will involve obviously First Amendment issues, both speech, association, probably press as well,” he said adding it might also include federal interference with business claims.

ACLJ has yet to determine all the defendants. The suit will likely include the Treasury Department and the IRS.

Monday ACLJ sent a letter demanding that the IRS get a response by Friday to 10 tea party groups who have not received tax exemptions or face possible legal action. ACLJ has not received any responses to its letter.

Dan Backer, an attorney with DB Capitol Strategies PLLC who represents tea party groups targeted by the IRS, including, has also threatened litigation but has not decided whether to act yet.

Backer told TheDC that he expects lawsuits to arise from the targeting, whether from his groups or others.

“As every law school professor has said, I can sue you for breathing. But, is it worth it?  [W]e’re trying to figure that out and it’s a complex issue,” he wrote TheDC in an email Wednesday.

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