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True the Vote Files Suit Against the IRS, Organization President Speaks Out

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

True the Vote, an advocacy group for increased measures to improve election accuracy and prevent voter fraud, filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Internal Revenue Service Tuesday, alleging that it was wrongfully targeted as a conservative group with Tea Party ties.

IRS officials admitted earlier this month to inappropriately flagging conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax exempt status. The Houston Chronicle reports that Truth the Vote is demanding damages amounting to $85,000 after accusing the IRS of deliberately delaying their application for tax exempt status, requiring excess paperwork on the organization's activities and possibly releasing the information it compiled in an unlawful manner.

True the Vote, which claims to defend voter integrity, first applied for tax exempt status from the IRS on July 15, 2010. The organization was thereafter subjected to 17 investigations and queries from numerous federal agencies — including the FBI, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Commission on Environmental Quality — as part practices described as “unnecessary and burdensome” in its official complaint filed on Tuesday. True the Vote’s founder and president Catherine Engelbrecht said the organization’s three-year internal battle with the IRS for tax-exempt status ends now.

“After answering hundreds of questions and producing thousands of documents, we’re done waiting,” Engelbrecht said in a Tuesday release. “Federal law empowers groups like True the Vote to force a decision in court – which is precisely what we aim to do.”

The Senate Finance Committee held a four-hour hearing on the IRS scandal Tuesday, which featured witnesses including  former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, Treasury Department Inspector General J. Russel George, and ousted IRS interim chief Steven Miller. During the hearing Shulman offered an "apology," TheBlaze reports: 

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) asked former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman if he planned on apologizing for the IRS’ “overly aggressive” targeting of the senator’s constituents.

“I’m deeply, deeply saddened by this whole set of events,” Shulman said. “I’ve read the IG’s report and I very much regret that it happened and that it happened on my watch.”

“Is that an apology?” Cornyn asked.

“To your constituents?” Shulman responded. “I don’t know the details of our constituents. I don’t know what happened to them.”

Shulman continued, arguing that between 2008 and 2012, he had nothing to do with cases that involved political activity.

“So, it’s not your responsibility,” Cornyn said. “The buck doesn’t stop with you.”

“I certainly am not personally responsible for creating a list that had inappropriate criteria on it,” Shulman replied. “What I know, with the full facts that are out is – from the Inspector General’s report – which doesn’t say that I’m responsible for that.”

On 'Real News' Tuesday the panel was joined by True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht to discuss her case, Tuesday's hearing, and the continued scandal. Watch a clip from the segment below:

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