[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on Tuesday certified class action status in a lawsuit alleging the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) [official websites] specifically targeted conservative tea party groups. Judge Susan Dlott filed a sealed order to protect privacy interests but said the seal would be lifted within three weeks. An attorney for the tea party groups hailed the class certification [Washington Times report] as a major victory in the case
The suit was initiated by the NorCal Tea Party Patriots [advocacy website] in 2013 shortly after the alleged targeting was revealed [TaxProfBlog report]. Following the revelation the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] began a two-year investigation into the claims, ending in October. At the close of the investigation the DOJ announced that although their “investigation uncovered substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia leading to the belief by many tax-exempt applicants that the IRS targeted them based on their political viewpoints,” mismanagement is not a crime and chose not to pursue criminal charges [USA Today report].