The Trump administration, after years of litigation, settled a lawsuit Tuesday with yet another Tea Party group that claimed it was targeted unfairly by the IRS under the Obama administration.
The Justice Department announced that it had entered into a settlement with conservative group True the Vote, which, among many other groups, faced a delay in its tax-exempt status dating back to 2013 “based solely on their viewpoint or ideology.”
The True the Vote settlement is the first of 2018. In October 2017, the Justice Department entered settlements with other Tea Party organizations to pay the claims of each of the groups in the case, more than 400 in all.
The IRS targeting scandal drew heavy attention in 2013 after the IRS admitted it applied extra scrutiny to conservative groups applying for nonprofit status. Lois Lerner, then the head of the Exempt Organizations unit responsible, became the public face of the scandal, though many other IRS officials were involved as well.
Upon last year’s settlement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the groups with names involving “Tea Party” or “Patriots,” or those with specific policy positions concerning government spending, were subject to “inappropriate criteria” to “screen” applications.
“The IRS’s use of these criteria as a basis for heightened scrutiny was wrong and should have never occurred,” Sessions said in October. “It is improper for the IRS to single out groups for different treatment based on their names or ideological positions.”
In court documents from October, the IRS admitted that its “treatment” of the plaintiffs [conservative groups] “was wrong,” and issued “its sincere apology.”