Watchdog Group Sues IRS Over Monitoring US Churches

Back in July, you may recall that the Internal Revenue Service settled a 2012 lawsuit brought by the anti-theist group Freedom from Religion Foundation. According to the terms of that settlement, the IRS agreed to monitor Churches, something that is clearly a violation of the First Amendment. Because the anti-theists settled, the details of how the IRS was going to go about their monitoring was never disclosed. Enter Judicial Watch, who has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the IRS in pursuit of records that would disclose IRS monitoring of churches or other tax exempt organizations for political purposes.

The lawsuit was filed on November 6 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:14-cv-01872).

According to Judicial Watch:

In 2012, the FFRF filed a lawsuit alleging that the IRS had routinely ignored its complaints about churches promoting political candidates, issues or proposed legislation. In July 2014, the IRS announced that, according to the terms of an agreement reached with the FFRF, it had been monitoring churches and other houses of worship for electioneering and other political activity. According to June 27, 2014, IRS letter to the Justice Department, the IRS has targeted 99 churches it said merited “high priority examination” for allegedly illegal electioneering activities. This church-targeting was determined by an IRS “Political Activities Referral Committee.”

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