Appeals Court Slaps Down IRS in NorCal Tea Party Case

The NorCal Tea Party Patriots won another round Tuesday in their long legal battle against the IRS, which had targeted hundreds of Tea Party and conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status before the 2012 elections.

A federal district court in Ohio had ordered the IRS to produce the names of organizations it placed on a “Be On the Look Out” (BOLO) list. The names are necessary for the NorCal Tea Party Patriots to proceed with their lawsuit as a class action suit on behalf of all the groups that were unfairly, and possibly illegally, targeted. The district court had twice ordered the IRS to produce the documents, but the IRS sought a “writ of mandamus” to block the court order.

A unanimous three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the IRS’s petition — and rebuked the agency for its behavior. In an opinion written by Judge Raymond Kethledge — first nominated in 2006 by President George W. Bush, but filibustered and stalled by Senate Democrats until 2008 — the Sixth Circuit rebuked the IRS for its behavior in court, charging that “in this lawsuit the IRS has only compounded the conduct that gave rise to it.”

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