Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Competing facts emerge in NOM's IRS litigation fizzle

National Organization for Marriage
Updated with Robert George's reaction. In settling their suit against the IRS for $50,000, National Organization for Marriage took a monetary and credibility beating. You may recall that this lawsuit was originally based on the assertions that NOM was targeted and; That the Obama administration conspired with the Human Rights Campaign to release confidential information that embarrassed Mitt Romney. NOM also asserted that the document was sent directly from the IRS to HRC.    

None of that was true. Not one word of it. Every one of those claims was dismissed by the trial judge as lacking substantiation and believability based on the evidence. NOM was looking for an enormous payday based upon the theory that the IRS was willfully and grossly negligent.

Can we at least remember that NOM lost this case in summary judgment?

The truth is that the IRS has admitted, all along, that a low-level employee inadvertently failed to remove the schedule in fulfilling a public information request. Moreover, based upon copies of email and depositions, NOM has known for quite some time and to a reasonable certainty that none of this was true.

Yet, the headline on RedState today is “IRS reportedly admits wrongdoing, must pay $50K fine to National Organization for Marriage.”
  1. “Reportedly?” Does RedState lack the resources to examine the case file or are they willfully misinformed (and misinforming).
  2. Wrongdoing requires intent. The Service has admitted making an unintentional and inadvertent clerical error.
  3. It's not a fine. It represents a settlement for damages. It is considerably less than NOM expected to receive once the judge removed intent from the case.
Yesterday, NOM itself got the settlement part right. However, they proffered the same BS about wrongdoing: “IRS Admits Wrongdoing in Release of the National Organization for Marriage's Confidential Tax Return and Donor List; Agrees to Pay $50,000 in Settlement of Lawsuit.” Yet:
In the beginning, th in the day, the New York Times and e government claimed that the IRS had done nothing wrong and that NOM itself must have released our confidential information. Thanks to a lot of hard work, we’ve forced the IRS to admit that they in fact were the ones to break the law and wrongfully released this confidential information.
Actually, the IRS admitted the error very early on. NOM never forced the IRS to admit anything. NOM is wants to engineer the inference that this was intentional and an act of political sabotage. Breitbart.com goes a bit further:
After years of court battles, an early victim of the politicized Internal Revenue Service finally gets a little satisfaction, as the agency admits wrongdoing and ponies up a settlement for handing confidential information on the National Organization for Marriage over to same-sex marriage activists.
When did we become this cynical? Before Murdoch the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times would report the same story with the same facts while differing on opinion. As a nation we are failing to separate fact from opinion as both recipients and vendors of information.

Update: According to NOM co-founder and supposed intellectual, Robert P. George:
IRS admits guilt in a gross act of abuse of power

Perhaps the politicization of the IRS was inevitable. In any event, the agency is now completely out of control and has become an active threat to the integrity of our political system and the liberty and privacy of the American people. Our nation should move as expeditiously as possible to a different system of taxation for funding the federal government, one that does not create so many opportunities for the abuse of power. I do not have settled views as to which of the various alternatives would be most suitable; nor, I believe, do most Americans. It strikes me as time for a national debate on the subject. I would very much like to hear the strongest arguments for and against the different options.
A clerical error is not an abuse of power. Nor, for that matter, does it have anything to do with politics. It was a low-level inadvertent mistake. What the fuck is George talking about?

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