Tea Party Files Class Action

A California Tea Party group, NorCal Tea Party Patriots, has sued the IRS yesterday, in connection with the recently revealed news that the federal government was scrutinizing them disparately because of their political affiliations.

According to Ginni Rapini, the group’s founding president, as told to KGO-ABC7 in San Francisco, the IRS requested voluminous data when they were applying for tax-exempt status.   ‘They wanted every email I had ever sent out,’ she said. ‘They wanted the transcripts of every speech from any speaker at any event, meeting or anything that we had had,” Rapini reported to ABC7.  More than two years passed while their application remained pending.

NorCal Tea Party’s lawsuit asserts that the  IRS has violated its rights under the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.  They claim that the IRS “engaged in systematic discrimination based upon the speech, expressed viewpoints, and association of NorCal Tea Party Patriots, its members, and similarly situated groups.”

It is unclear to what extent the lawsuit was brought merely to make a statement in and of itself, given the likelihood that it will not ultimately succeed.  Class actions, by their nature, require the injured victims to have suffered nearly-identical injuries so as to prove typicality among the class.  It is hard to imagine how individualized tax-exempt applications are not unique to each tax-exempt applicant.  Further, the Supreme Court previously refused to hold in the famous Dukes v. Wal-Mart matter that gender discrimination claimed by the female employees of Wal-Mart could be certified as a class.

Citizens know soon enough – with every class action comes a motion to dismiss.