Bob Barr

Judge Susan Dlott may not be a household name among conservatives; but the federal judge’s decision last week allowing a lawsuit against the IRS to move forward might make her one. By rejecting the demand from federal government attorneys that the case be dismissed, thereby allowing some of the charges to continue to trial, Dlott has struck a meaningful blow in support of those of us in America still committed to the pursuit of the truth and the rule of law. Her ruling is by no means a slam-dunk for the Tea Party groups involved in the lawsuit; but it is a vital step in holding politically-motivated IRS officials accountable for violating the constitutional rights of conservatives.

Being able to have a day in court seemed an unlikely prospect at the outset of this scandal. One need only consider the IRS’ systematic stonewalling of Congress to understand just how strong is the out-of-control agency’s commitment to protecting itself against being held accountable for misdeeds. If the agency’s top brass was so brazen as to defy seasoned and relentless investigators like House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, then attempting to torpedo a mere lawsuit in federal District Court must have seemed like child’s play for the Establishment. Fortunately for justice -- and the Constitution -- Judge Dlott is not buying into the IRS’ arguments that it is immune from having to defend its actions in a court of law.

The judge did caution that much of what the Tea Party has alleged will be difficult to prove; after all, evidence at the IRS seems mysteriously to disappear daily.

In fact, Thomas Kane, the IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel, who oversees document production for congressional investigations, testified last Thursday to a congressional panel about “computer problems” affecting other members of the IRS, including some directly involved in the investigation, which might prevent the IRS from fully complying with Issa’s subpoenas. His testimony contained other bombshells. IRS officials originally claimed that “problems” destroyed disgraced former Service official Lois Lerner’s email communications, erasing likely incriminating evidence linking her (and probably other Obama Administration officials) to criminal conduct. Kane’s testimony now indicates this too may have been more obstruction from top IRS officials. “I don’t know if there is a backup tape with information on it or there isn’t,” Kane told investigators; concluding in a classic understatement, “I know that there’s an issue out there about it.”

Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.