Judicial Watch law firm battles IRS

Judicial Watch law firm battles IRS

By Joe Baker

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

A Washington-based legal firm, Judicial Watch, is battling an IRS attempt to audit its finances. Judicial Watch Chairman Larry Klayman argues that the tax collection agency, led by Clinton appointee Charles Rossotti, began a probe of his law firm in retaliation for Judicial Watch litigation on behalf of perceived enemies of the Clinton administration.

Klayman’s group also has called for criminal and civil investigations for “criminal conflict of interest” against Rossotti for holding stock in a company that did business with the IRS.

Rossotti had to sell his stock in American Management systems following a complaint filed by Judicial Watch. Klayman called Rossotti a criminal and said he is puzzled as to why he continues to serve in the Bush administration.

“It’s to the Bush administration’s advantage, it must think, to watch Rossotti continue to illegally audit Judicial Watch for political purposes,” Klayman told WorldNetDaily.

Klayman’s firm has filed a lawsuit to force Vice President Dick Cheney to release information about his energy task force.

The legal firm also has pursued what it called “illegal Republican fundraising, the sale of national security briefings for campaign contributions by the Republican National Congressional Committee and the sale of meetings with Bush administration officials in the White House.”

Klayman said a year ago Judicial Watch gave Attorney General John Ashcroft evidence indicating the IRS targeted groups opposed by the Clinton administration. There has been no response from Ashcraft.

In May 1998, Judicial Watch filed a complaint on behalf of the Western Journalism Center, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. The center was audited by the IRS, a process that took nine months and ended with the center’s tax-exempt status being extended. The agent in charge at that time warned it was a political case, and a final decision would be made at the national level.

Five months after Klayman filed on behalf of the journalism center, Judicial Watch was audited, together with a long list of persons and groups opposed to Clinton.

In January 1999, an IRS official commenting on the propriety of the audit said: “What do you expect when you sue the president?”

Joseph Farah, founder of the Western Journalism Center, said: “It is amazing to me that civil libertarians are not screaming about such current abuses. Abuse of the IRS in this manner was one of the impeachment counts against Richard Nixon.

“It seems the establishment press, the Democratic Party and the American Civil Liberties Union have very selective outrage. Most distressing of all, however, is that Attorney General John Ashcroft turns a blind eye to this kind of blatant civil rights abuse.”

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