Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Are DoJ & IRS Afraid of True The Vote?

Three years after applying for tax-exempt status, True the Vote has been granted their 501(c)(3) status. They were among the many NPOs that were labeled as "right-wing political organizations" that the IRS targeted with additional investigations, delaying or denying tax exempt status.

“We are pleased and relieved that the IRS and the DOJ are finally doing what should have been done three years ago, which is to recognize TTV as a charitable and educational organization, which we have always been and will continue to be,” said True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht. 

True the Vote is a non-profit organization. Their mission has political and electoral ramifications, but is apolitical in nature. They seek to expose voter fraud and educate citizens in how to protect their votes so that they count, properly, legally, and effectively.

True the Vote has advocated legislation around the country. Much of this legislation concerns so-called "Voter ID laws" and other reforms for mail-in ballot procedures. They also advocate for reforms in voter registration policies in order to reduce or mitigate voter fraud and increase voter integrity. These measures have never been in support of any political party or candidate. They do not endorse any candidate.

True the Vote joined many other organizations is filing federal lawsuits against the IRS and its affiliates for targeting the organization and its members. Then the US Dept. of Justice began investigating True The Vote for voter intimidation and election tampering. This came in conjunction with the AG Holder's announcement that he is seeking charges to overturn Voter ID and other voter integrity laws passed in states such as Arizona and True The Vote's HQ state, Texas.

On Sept 20th, True The Vote was unofficially informed their status was granted. The US DoJ and the IRS filed for dismissal of True the Vote's lawsuit against the federal agencies. Why?

The motion for dismissal claims the suits are "moot" because True the Vote has, in fact, garnered tax exempt status. That opens the question of the DoJ and IRS's motives. Did they grant the status to avoid the lawsuit? Did they fear the outcome of that suit? Did they fear the sort of investigation against the IRS and the DoJ for targeting groups they view as political opposition? What are they hiding?

True The Vote does not intend to drop the suit.

Cleta Mitchell, lead counsel in the litigation, and a partner at Foley & Lardner, LLP in Washington, DC, responded to the DOJ filings by noting, “While we are glad the IRS has realized TTV’s tax exempt status should be granted and is now moving to rectify its failure to do sooner, this case is far from moot. There are still many questions to be answered, such as:
  • When is the IRS going to actually issue its letter granting tax exempt status to True the Vote?
  • What about the costs and damages incurred by True the Vote for the past three years while the IRS unlawfully delayed issuing the letter of recognition? 
  • What about all of the confidential and proprietary information sought and demanded from True the Vote that the Treasury Inspector General has stated was not necessary for determining True the Vote’s eligibility for exempt status, and which is now apparently going to be made public? 
  • What about the violation of True the Vote’s constitutional rights by the IRS and its agents and employees during the course of these last 3 years?

With the DoJ attempting to ramp up its fight against Texas's new voter integrity laws, True the Vote will, likely, be involved in assisting the defense of those laws. One of those laws restricts how many absentee and mail-in ballots one person may deliver. That is an attempt to reduce mass-ballot tampering. Such tampering members of True The Vote suspects may have occurred in one of the past elections of Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Houston-TX. Another of those laws requires photo identification to vote. The same bill offers free photo-identification to registered voters who need such proof. The price (free) of the IDs negates any allegation of a "poll tax". Holder has stated he intends to fight to get these laws overturned.

The recent "bad press" against the IRS for its targeting may be seen as a hindrance to Holder's suits against Texas, given True The Vote's advocacy for these laws.