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Republican National Committee files Tax Day lawsuit seeking IRS records related to Tea Party targeting

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,Taxes,Tea Party,IRS,RNC,Scandals

The Republican National Committee on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service after months of trying to obtain documents pertaining to the targeting of Tea Party groups through a Freedom of Information Act request.

“If the IRS and the Obama administration don't have anything to hide, why not answer the request?" RNC chairman Reince Priebus said in announcing the lawsuit. "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.”

The RNC asked the agency to produce a variety of documents and correspondence pertaining to the Tea Party targeting, such as documents containing the words "tea party," "patriot," or "9/12" — the request is apparently modeled on the agency's infamous "Be on the lookout" lists.

That was on May 21, 2013 — 225 business days ago. The IRS has requested several extensions, but hasn't produced the documents.

"The IRS has a legal obligation to answer our inquiry for these records,” Priebus said. “On Tax Day especially, Americans deserve to know whether they can trust the agency to which they’re sending their taxes."

If the RNC wins, they wouldn't just get the documents. They also requested "a declaratory judgment that the IRS's failure to disclose the records requested by [the RNC] is unlawful under FOIA." You can imagine how a judicial finding that the IRS broke the law (again, conservatives might say) would play with Tea Party voters in an election year.

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