“6th Circuit loses patience with IRS”

The above headline — a great headline — greeted us from today’s Washington Post, for an article describing a decision issued today from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on the case in which we are local counsel — NorCal Tea Party v. United States of America.

That case addresses the abuses at the IRS over the segregation and targeting of conservative groups for slowed consideration of their tax exemption applications, and harassment in the form of illegal and over-burdening questioning and extra reviews of their applications.  It is the only case addressing the abuses at the IRS that is still proceeding and the only case to achieve class certification status.

In that case, the Plaintiffs are seeking the spreadsheets showing the list of the targeted groups, and certain details of the extra scrutiny they endured.  Federal District Court Judge Susan J. Dlott had ordered that the IRS produce that list.  The IRS first asked her to reconsider that decision and then appealed the decision to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Today’s opinion upheld that decision of Judge Dlott.  The decision is here.

Nominally, the decision was a detailed analysis of the taxpayer confidentiality statute, 26 USC Section §6103.  But the unanimous 6th Circuit panel decision authored by Judge Kethledge, did so much more than that.

  • First, it provided a detailed recitation of the alleged abuses of the IRS in targeting and discriminating against tea party groups;
  • It also laid out a scorching criticism of the IRS and its counsel for fighting every issue in the litigation, including discovery, beyond reason.

The opinion has garnered widespread media coverage as well:

Our firm is proud to participate in this historic and important litigation.