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As the IRS continues its attempts to delay the truth and the Obama Administration continues to spin the IRS targeting as a “phony scandal,” the FBI is engaged in what President Obama’s own Justice Department has classified as “criminal investigations” in recent court filings.
Last week the Department of Justice filed a motion for extension with the U.S. federal district court in Washington, D.C., in the ACLJ’s lawsuit on behalf of 41 targeted groups. The ACLJ represents Tea Party groups, pro-life groups, and other conservative groups caught up in the IRS targeting dragnet.
The government filed a motion for a 60-day extension to file its first response. The government had been required to respond to the ACLJ’s lawsuit by August 8th and has requested an extension to October 7, 2013. The government’s motion also indicated that it “may need to seek an additional extension of time at the expiration of 60 days.”
In addition to the need for more time, the DOJ’s motion includes several important revelations. First, President Obama’s DOJ acknowledges that the FBI is engaged in ongoing “criminal investigations” of the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups.
While President Obama and his defenders on the left keep calling the IRS targeting of conservatives a “phony scandal,” his own Justice Department asserts that there are ongoing “criminal investigations.” This is clearly not a “phony” scandal. This is a real scandal with serious implications.
The government’s motion and accompanying affidavits also note that the IRS is compiling documents and other data from “115 custodians.” The IRS has assembled a “19-member technology and support team” and the data is being reviewed by “80 employees of the Office of Chief Counsel.”
Yet, with this mass of resources supposedly engaged on this case, leaders from both sides of the aisle in both the House and Senate are accusing the IRS of stonewalling on information requests. Senator Max Baucus (D), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee which is charged with oversight of the IRS, recently sent a stinging bipartisan letter to the IRS. Senator Baucus, hardly a Tea Party sympathizer, has accused the IRS of withholding “the bulk of the relevant information including key emails and documents belonging to the relevant decision makers both in the IRS and elsewhere in government.” He was joined by the ranking member of that committee, Senator Orrin Hatch (R). Likewise the Chairmen of the House committees on Oversight and Ways and Means have sent similar letters asserting that the IRS is engaging in a pattern of delay and obfuscation in turning over relevant documents.
ACLJ’s lawsuit will continue even in the face of these IRS delays. The truth will eventually come out.
Matthew Clark is Associate Counsel for Government Affairs and Media Advocacy with the ACLJ. A lifelong citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, he lives with his wife and three boys in Northern Virginia. Follow Matthew Clark: @_MatthewClark.