The leader of a conservative group on Monday praised a federal judge for ordering the IRS to release the names of employees involved in targeting conservative and Tea Party groups, and said the group will keep pressure on the Trump administration to prohibit the IRS from future discrimination against groups based on their political views.
"We're thrilled the judge has taken this step and it feels good to have it recognized that they need to be held to account," Catherine Engelbrecht, president of True the Vote, told Fox News on Monday. "What happened to me was very personal — my name was thrown around the IRS, and the names of the people involved need to be known. What they did was criminal."
The IRS targeting scandal emerged in 2013 when former IRS official Lois Lerner admitted that the agency was providing extra scrutiny to conservative groups applying for nonprofit status, prolonging their applications for months and even years.
Engelbrecht's group and dozens of others sued the IRS to get the names of the officials involved in the scandal. Last week, Judge Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said in addition to releasing the names of the employees involved, the IRS must also explain which groups were targeted and why.
The judge also ordered the tax agency to detail how it has tried to prevent further targeting and search for additional records in agency databases from 2009 to March 27, 2015.
"What we're fighting for is we want to see a policy that prohibits viewpoint discrimination," Engelbrecht said. "Holding the IRS accountable and personalizing it is a great step forward to coax each one out of their den of thieves."
"We are fighting on behalf of all Americans, because if it could happen to use, it can happen to anyone," she continued. "They are still entrenched on the idea that the IRS did nothing wrong, and all of America now knows that is not the case."
Chris Farrell, director of investigations at Judicial Watch, which is involved in a lawsuit with the IRS, told Fox News the IRS owes those targeted "real accountability."
"This was creepy, chilling stuff," Farrell said. "Judge Walton has accomplished more with one ruling than all the rest of the federal government — all three branches — over the last six years."