True the Vote became the second organization to sue the IRS, in the wake of allegations the agency had targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. The Northern California Tea Party Patriots filed suit on Monday.
Norman Lofrgren is an attorney with the Dallas office of Looper Read. He worked as a trial lawyer for the IRS in the 1970s and ’80s, and has represented clients against the agency for nearly thirty years. He says Tea Party groups are not likely to gain satisfaction through the courts.
“Typically it’s very difficult to sue a federal employee, unless they directly violate your constitutional rights. That’s the concept of sovereign immunity. I don’t think there’s any civil remedy to it that would be effective. Really, Congress is the one that’s got to fix this.”
Both pending suits charge the IRS with violating the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights. Texas is home to more than forty Tea Party affiliated groups, including at least five in Greater Houston.