IRS scandal hits home for local couple

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Kentucky 9/12 Project members join suit against agency


The nation found out several weeks ago that the IRS has targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status since 2010.
That news didn’t come as a shock to a Lawrenceburg couple who, as members of one of those groups, said they’ve known about the targeting for at least the last two years.
Gene and Kathy Linzy have been members of Kentucky 9/12 Project for about 4 1/2 years, a group dedicated to preserving constitutional rights. The organization is one of 25 that filed suit last week against the IRS through the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) in Washington, DC.
Gene Linzy said the group’s attempt to get tax-exempt status began several years ago and was meet by IRS officials with a barrage of what he said were inappropriate questions.
“They sent us a list of 88 questions and said we had two and a half weeks to answer them,” Linzy said in a phone interview. “We didn’t do it because the group’s leadership decided the questions went beyond the norm and we decided not to comply.
“We contacted the ACLJ and got some advice.”
That advice lead to the lawsuit, which was filed last week against the U.S. Attorney General, Treasury Secretary, and Internal Revenue Service — including top IRS officials, according to a news release from Kentucky 9/12 Project.
The suit contends that the Obama Administration “unlawfully delayed and thereby effectively denied approval of Kentucky 9/12 Project applications for tax exempt status by means of a comprehensive, pervasive, invidious and organized scheme that purposefully established unnecessary and burdensome inquiries and scrutiny of Kentucky 9/12 Project applications based solely upon Kentucky 9/12 Project’ political viewpoints (or Defendants’ assumption of Kentucky 9/12 Project viewpoints, based on their organizational names),” according to the news release.
The group’s leadership lays the blame for the IRS targeting directly on the Obama administration.
“After being targeted and held hostage by this administration at the arms of the IRS for over two years, we want them to not only be held accountable but prevent this from happening to any other group or citizens in the future,” said the organization’s executive director, Earic Wilson.
“The IRS overreach and intimidation we experienced is a clear indication that this agency philosophically rejects the flow of authority crafted into our system of government,” said Lisa Abler, the group’s vice president. “Their arrogant actions run contrary to the concept of a government of the people instituted to secure inalienable rights with just power deriving from the consent of the governed.”
Linzy, who has been an active supporter of a host of tea party-backed candidates, including Sen. Rand Paul, said the targeting of conservative groups may have helped President Obama win re-election in 2012.
“The tea party was really involved in the 2010 elections, but one thing we found out is that while it’s great to have people out knocking on doors, we also needed money to support printed materials.
“That was the reason to go for [tax exempt status,] so we could start taking donations. I think that had the biggest effect because we weren’t able to be as involved in 2012 as in 2010.”
Linzy said he hopes the lawsuit ultimately brings an end to the IRS.
“Of course that’s a pipe dream, but it’s a problem when the IRS is used as a political tool to carry out punishment and extortion,” Linzy said.
The lawsuit urges the court to find that the Obama Administration overstepped its authority and violated the First and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, the Administrative Procedure Act, as well as violating the IRS’s own rules and regulations. The lawsuit requests a declaratory judgment that the defendants unlawfully delayed and obstructed the organization’s applications for a determination of tax-exempt status by means of conduct that was based on unconstitutional criteria and impermissibly disparate treatment of the groups the ACLJ represents. The suit also seeks injunctive relief to protect their clients – and their officers and directors – from further IRS abuse or retaliation. Further, the lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive monetary damages to be determined at trial at a later date, according to the news release.