A federal judge approved a $3.5 million settlement in a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service in the Obama-era scandal for targeting tea party and conservative groups, according to The Washington Times.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett approved the preliminary lawsuit and scheduled a court date for July 10, to finalize the case.
Late last year, the Department of Justice announced the case had been settled, but that the final claims and objections needed to be documented in federal court.
The top plaintiff in the case was Norcal Tea Party Patriots, a California-based conservative group. The case was eventually broken down into a large class-action lawsuit by hundreds of conservative groups.
The federal court is sorting out the details to determine how much each group will be awarded for being illegally targeted by the IRS.
Beginning around 2011, tea party groups were rising across the country to oppose former President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.
To combat the rise and influence, Obama’s administration weaponized the IRS and used it as a political tool to target the conservative groups on tax-exempt status applications.
When President Donald Trump took office, the DOJ settled the second lawsuit and issued an apology on behalf of the IRS for illegally targeting conservative groups.
The DOJ admitted the groups’ constitutional rights were violated when the Obama administration went after them based on their political views.
In 2013, the IRS admitted the scheme, noting that it targeted groups with words such as “tea party” or “patriot” on their tax paperwork.
With pressure mounting and lawsuits gaining steam, Obama’s DOJ announced in late 2015 that no IRS officials would be prosecuted for their many potential crimes.
While tea party groups are on the verge of a big payday, many republicans are still demanding the Trump administration reopen the case against Lois Lerner, who led the IRS division that handled applications for tax-exempt status at the time.
They should be held accountable for their actions.