ABQ Tea Party joins federal lawsuit against the IRS

By Rob Nikolewski on May 31, 2013
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The has joined a federal lawsuit against the and other federal government entities over allegations the IRS singled out conservative groups and delayed determining their requested non-profit status.

“We are in the lawsuit,” Albuquerque Tea Party president Rick Harbaugh told New Mexico Watchdog Friday morning.

HEADING TO COURT: The Internal Revenue Service has been hit with a lawsuit from 25 Tea Party and conservative groups

He said the group’s 10-member board unanimously decided to join the lawsuit filed by Washington D.C.-based on behalf of 25 tea party and conservative groups nationwide.

Harbaugh read a statement to New Mexico Watchdog that said in part “the government of the United States, and the Internal Revenue Service, has failed in its duty to uphold the rule of law in regard to conservative groups.”

The suit, earlier this week, claims the IRS and other entities “denied approval of Plaintiffs’ applications for tax exempt status by means of a comprehensive, pervasive, invidious and organized scheme that purposefully established unnecessary and burdensome inquiries and scrutiny.”

The suit specifically names U.S. Attorney General , IRS official and U.S. Treasury Secretary among the defendants.

Americans are not going to be bullied and intimidated by our government,” ACLJ chief counsel , a well-known conservative lawyer, when the suit was filed. “Those responsible for this unprecedented intimidation ploy must be held accountable.”

HARASSMENT: The president of the Albuquerque Tea Party says the Internal Revenue Service has been asking intrusive questions and holding up its tax-exempt status.

The Albuquerque Tea Party says it’s been wrangling with the IRS since December 2009 to be granted non-profit status.

In the IRS’ own that came out May 14, a review found that the agency “1) targeted specific groups applying for tax-exempt status, 2) delayed processing of targeted groups’ applications for tax-exempt status, and 3) requested unnecessary information from targeted groups.”

The inspector general’s report also confirmed that groups whose names included words such as “tea party,” “patriots” or who advocated to “make America a better place to live” or whose statements “in the case file criticize how the country is being run” were flagged in June 2011.

The report said “the criteria developed by the Determinations Unit gives the appearance that the IRS is not impartial in conducting its mission.” (Read the entire report .)

that no political criteria resulted in delays even though a on May 15 concluded, “as applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with liberal-sounding names had their applications approved in as little as nine months.”

“The IRS has admitted targeting conservative groups and apologizes for their behavior but they still keep us waiting,” Harbaugh said in his statement.

IRS officials initially said the scrutiny was limited to the agency’s Cincinnati office but ACLJ said it has proof the agency’s targeting extended to two California offices and the national office in Washington, D.C., citing treatment of the Albuquerque Tea Party specifically.

The ACLJ from its D.C. office in 2010 to the Albuquerque Tea Party asking the group a series of 10 follow-up questions.

Among them was information into “Marianne Chiffelle’s Breakfasts.

New Mexico Watchdog discovered that “Marianne Chiffelle’s Breakfasts” was not a restaurant or business, but an 83-year-old great-grandmother and former World War II internment camp survivor who is active in Republican politics in Albuquerque.

Click here for that story.


Here’s the complete statement from the Albuquerque Tea Party that Harbaugh released to New Mexico Watchdog regarding the lawsuit:

“The government United States is supposed to run in accordance to the rule of law. This principle guarantees that every individual American and every group of Americans are treated equally by our government. Since 2010, the government of the United States through the Internal Revenue Service, has failed in its duty to uphold the rule of law I regard to conservative groups and groups perceived as conservative by way of certain words in their name: Tea Party, 9/12, Patriot and Liberty.

“Supposedly, this discrimination by the IRS ended in March 2012. However, many conservative groups around the country, including the Albuquerque Tea Party, are still awaiting action on their requests for a 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(3) status from the IRS. The Albuquerque Tea Party applied for their status in December 2009 and yet we still await a decision. The IRS has admitted targeting conservative groups and apologized for their behavior but they still keep us waiting.

“For this reason, the Albuquerque Tea Party, along with many other conservative groups, has retained the American Center for Law and Justice to represent us in suing the Internal Revenue Service. The Albuquerque Tea Party will pursue our issues with the IRS in court. We will not be granting interviews on this impending lawsuit unless requested by the ACLJ. All questions should be referred to the ACLJ.”

Here’s the filed earlier this week.

And here’s the requesting more information on the group.

Contact Rob Nikolewski at and follow him on Twitter @robnikolewski

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One Comment For This Post So Far

  1. Oaken Truncheon
    6:18 pm on June 4th, 2013

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