On Tuesday, the fifth anniversary of the 2009 Tax Day Tea Party rallies that forced the mainstream media to acknowledge the existence of the Tea Party movement, Tea Party Patriots filed a lawsuit in federal court against the IRS and the Department of Treasury. The suit demanded the release of key documents the group has requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) related to the treatment of Tea Party groups.
The case was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
According to a press release issued by Tea Party Patriots late Tuesday, the suit “ask[ed]the court to force the release of documents shedding light on the agency’s proposal for burdensome regulations for 501(c)(4) citizens groups, and the roles played by former IRS official Lois Lerner and other Administration officials in developing the regulations.”
Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder and president of Tea Party Patriots, stated in the press release that “Americans deserve to know the truth about how the IRS is trying to deprive us and other citizens of our First Amendment rights to free speech. Citizens shouldn’t have to go to court to find out what sort of secret activities their government is up to.”
Martin described the conduct of the IRS as “truly shameful.” According to Martin, “President Obama promised a transparent government but instead, people have to file lawsuits just to learn the truth.”
Martin said that the lawsuit filed on Tuesday was just the beginning of the actions taken by Tea Party Patriots to counter the efforts of the IRS. “We plan to submit a new FOIA request this week to learn what has transpired behind the scenes since the proposed rules were first issued, and to add new claims to our lawsuit if the IRS and Treasury continue to ignore our requests for information,” she said.
Tea Party Patriots, founded in 2009, is a non-profit organization affiliated with an estimated 3,000 local Tea Party groups around the country.