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RNC sues the IRS for illegally stalling, withholding FOIA request

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The Republican National Committee (RNC) filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Tuesday for withholding records sought by the RNC’s 2013 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

In released statement to Republican members through email, the RNC stated that the initial request, dated on May 21, 2013, they sought to review documents and correspondence related to criteria used for reviewing and approving 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations.

This request followed revelations that the IRS had been targeting conservative organizations, and the RNC sought to shed light on who had ordered actions to be taken against those groups and why.

Over the course of the last 226 business days, the IRS requested several extensions in order to complete the RNC’s request, but has yet to present the information to the RNC.

The RNC stated that it believes the undue delay in producing the requested documents is unacceptable and inexcusable, given that many of these documents have been already produced to other requesting entities.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said, “We’re filing this suit because the Obama administration has a responsibility to be transparent and accountable to the American people. The IRS has a legal obligation to answer our inquiry for these records.” On Tax Day, especially Americans, deserve to know whether they can trust the agency to which they are sending their taxes.”

“Release of the requested documents is in the public interest, as Americans deserve to know how the IRS interprets and enforces the tax laws and why it would deliberately target people because of their values and beliefs,” Priebus said.

The original RNC FOIA letter, which can be read here, that was sent to the IRS detailed the request of the IRS targeting conservative groups such the Tea Party groups, any mention of the words “patriot”, or 9/12 project or such organizations that were 501 (c) (4) tax-exempt organizations.

The court filing by the RNC in the District Court in DC can be read here.

“If the IRS and the Obama administration don’t have anything to hide, why not answer the request? Their delays and distractions make Americans think they are trying to cover up their actions, just like ex-IRS employee Lois Lerner,” said Priebus.

“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 or an administration that goes after its perceived political enemies.”

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