By Bernie Becker - 06/24/14 07:46 PM EDT
The IRS has agreed to pay a prominent group that opposes same-sex marriage $50,000 to settle a lawsuit over the disclosure of the organization’s tax records.
The National Organization for Marriage cast the settlement as a hard-fought victory, after the IRS had initially said it had done nothing wrong.
“Thanks to a lot of hard work, we’ve forced the IRS to admit that they in fact were the ones to break the law and wrongfully released this confidential information,” John Eastman, the group’s chairman, said in a statement.
But while the group will be reimbursed for damages, a federal court this month also said that the National Organization for Marriage fell far short in trying to prove that the IRS had purposefully leaked its tax documents.
The case centers on a tax document that the IRS released that included a list of major donors and was eventually given to the Human Rights Campaign, a prominent group supporting same-sex marriage. The Huffington Post also wrote about the information in the tax document.
James Cacheris, a federal district judge, said that a mistake by an IRS employee led to the National Organization for Marriage’s tax record being released. The group’s assertion that the IRS willfully released the document was “unsupported by any evidence.”
Still, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) tried to tie the settlement to the broader congressional investigation into the IRS’s improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups.
“While the administration prefers to sweep this under the rug, it is time that the American people have a special prosecutor into this matter so the full truth can come out,” Camp said in a statement.