Judge Reggie Walton, of the DC District Court, dismissed all counts brought by the conservative non-profit, True the Vote, against the IRS for the IRS’ harassment of the organization when it tried to register as a 501(c)(3). The IRS had, on receiving that application
IRS was subjecting [True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht] to multiple rounds of abusive inquiries, with requests to provide every Facebook and Twitter entry I’d every posted, questions about my political aspirations, and demands to know the names of every group I’d ever made presentations to, the content of what I’d said, and where I intended to speak for the coming year.
Under the law defining a c3 organization, none of this information is relevant to the IRS’ application investigation. Indeed, Walton’s ruling explicitly makes no reference to the legitimacy of Engelbrecht’s charges.
Walton dismissed the counts because the IRS—eventually, but before this lawsuit was resolved—registered True the Vote as the c3 for which it had applied.
Unless an actual, ongoing controversy exists in this case, this Court is without power to decide it….
The defendants’ grant of tax-exempt status to the plaintiff, and the defendants’ suspension of the alleged IRS targeting scheme during the tax-exempt application process, including remedial steps to address the alleged conduct, coupled with the reduced “concern about the recurrence of objectionable behavior” government actors….
Never mind that this is a purely voluntary “suspension,” subject to removal at IRS whim, conservative speech remains chilled, other attacks against other conservative entities remain (think Wisconsin), and so on. The present assault has stopped, so there’s nothing for a good judge to decide.
Let me see if my understanding of this is correct. If I stop beating my wife, wholly voluntarily and on my own initiative, I’m home free? My wife has no recourse? Never mind that I’ve only voluntarily suspended the beatings, never mind that my wife remains intimidated and vulnerable, I’ve got nothing to worry about from any court?
Walton’s ruling can be seen here.