IRS Stonewalling NRSC FOIA Request RE Correspondence With Dem Members of Congress

Nearly a year ago, the National Republican Senatorial Committee sent the IRS a Freedom of Information Act request for any and all documents and records related to correspondence from January 1, 2009 and May 21, 2013 between thirteen different Democrat members of Congress and top IRS officials.

Members of Congress named in the unfulfilled request are Sen. Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Reid (D-NV), DSCC Chair Sen. Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Landrieu (D-LA), Sen. Pryor (D-AR), Sen. Hagan (D-NC), Sen. Begich (D-AK), Sen. Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), Sen. Franken (D-MN), Sen. Warner (D-VA), Rep. Braley and Rep. Peters (D-MI). 

The IRS officials named are former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, former Commissioner Steven Miller, senior IRS official Joseph Grant and former head of tax exempt groups Lois Lerner. 

Since the FOIA request was received, IRS Tax Law Specialists Robert Thomas and Denise Higley have sent the same form letter asking for an extension six times.

Via Katie Pavlich, Townhall:

“I am responding to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated May 21, 2013, and received in our office on May 30, 2013,” Higley wrote in a letter to NRSC Attorney Megan Sowards last year. “I am unable to send the information requested by June 27, 2013, which is the 20 business day period allowed by law. I apologize for any inconvenience this delay may cause.”

Thomas and Higley have sent six letters with the same language and different dates to Sowards requesting more time to locate information in order to fulfill the FOIA request. Most recently, the IRS has asked for a deadline of August 1, 2014 to produce information.

This would appear to be an abuse of the FOIA statute which requires federal agencies to respond within 20 days of receipt of a government records request and notify the requester that it will review the documents and reveal what they will and will not hand over and why.

Pushing the deadline closer to the election seems like a risky proposition for Democrats, but that’s assuming the IRS intends on complying with the request in August – as opposed to stalling until they run out the clock – the Regime’s preferred method of stonewall.

The Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit, last month against the IRS for withholding records sought by their FOIA request on May 21, 2013.

The RNC  “sought to review documents and correspondence related to criteria used for reviewing and approving 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations. This request followed revelations that the IRS had been targeting conservative organizations, and the RNC sought to shed light on who had ordered actions to be taken against those groups and why.”

They received similar treatment with the IRS requesting several extensions over the course of the next twelve months.

“We’re filing this suit because the Obama administration has a responsibility to be transparent and accountable to the American people. The IRS has a legal obligation to answer our inquiry for these records,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. “On Tax Day especially Americans deserve to know whether they can trust the agency to which they’re sending their taxes.

“If the IRS and the Obama administration don’t have anything to hide, why not answer the request? Their delays and distractions make Americans think they’re trying to cover up their actions, just like ex-IRS employee Lois Lerner. We’re going to keep fighting to hold the IRS and Obama administration accountable because Americans deserve a government that treats them fairly and not one that harasses them because of their beliefs nor an administration that goes after its perceived political enemies.”