Court Finds IRS Actions Unconstitutional, Awards TTV Increased Fees Based on “Bad Faith Enhancement”


The True the Vote v. IRS lawsuit has finally come to a close with a stunning ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton ruling in favor of True the Vote; penalizing the IRS with maximum attorneys fees due to their unconstitutional discrimination against the group and their unethical behavior in the case.


This decision marks the end of a nearly decade long battle that first began in 2010, when federal government agencies including the IRS, DOJ, FBI, ATF, OSHA weaponized against True the Vote and its founder, Catherine Engelbrecht. Under Obama Administration leadership, the agencies leveled a barrage of attacks, including twenty-three audits, investigations, and inquiries, against the group in an attempt to stop their work in election integrity.


In 2013, True the Vote brought suit against the IRS, seeking to prove that IRS actions were unconstitutional. The ensuing fight cost millions and nearly destroyed the only conservative voters rights organization in America.


True the Vote’s founder Catherine Engelbrecht said, “At the outset of this case, I testified before Congress and swore that I would never retreat or surrender. Today I have fulfilled that oath. Thank you to all the citizens across the country who stood steadfastly beside us. We could not have done it without your support.”



United States District Judge Reggie B. Walton signed a Consent Order that included the IRS admission of wrongdoing and affirmed that prejudice on the basis of an applicant’s name, association, or political viewpoint is an unconstitutional violation of First Amendment rights. Then, in a stunning rebuke of the IRS actions that led to this litigation, Judge Walton also ruled that True the Vote is entitled to a “bad faith enhancement” to its requested attorney’s fees. Judge Walton’s opinion held there is “clear and convincing evidence necessary for a finding of bad faith on the part of [the IRS]” in their discrimination against True the Vote. While the exact amount to be awarded is still pending, True the Vote’s application under the Equal Access to Justice Act requested the recovery of $1.9 million in attorneys’ fees.


“This ruling is a victory for all Americans,” says Engelbrecht. “Government cannot be allowed to run roughshod over the Constitutional rights of American citizens.”


James Bopp, Jr. of The Bopp Law Firm, Counsel for True the Vote, says “The D.C. District Court rejected the DOJ’s argument that True the Vote did not win this litigation battle.” Bopp also applauds “Judge Walton’s opinion which held not only that the IRS’s actions were not substantially justified, but were also rooted in ‘bad faith.’ The Court’s judgment that True the Vote won this litigation coupled with its opinion that the IRS acted in bad faith should be a warning to bureaucrats that the U.S. Constitution protects everyone, regardless of ideology.”


Brock Akers, of The Akers Firm, Counsel for True the Vote, says “The conduct of the IRS and the government was nothing short of shocking. This ruling ought to reflect a collective sigh of relief from everyone that the judicial system really can be turned to for a just end to this nightmare. Check one in favor of Justice v. Swamp.”


With this decade long battle behind True the Vote, the organization will now turn its effort to the 2020 election cycle, partnering with Our Values, a veterans’ rights organization founded by Benghazi hero Mark “Oz” Geist. The collaboration will focus on active and veteran military voter registration, recruiting and training for volunteer service as poll workers, and other GOTV activities targeted to mobilizing military and veteran families in the 2020 election.


Again, thank you to all the citizens across the country who stood steadfastly beside us for all these years! We could not have stayed standing without your support!




Wow - we are only 50 days away from Election Day 2018! And, for some of you, early voting begins in three weeks!


Whether you are a candidate, campaign staffer, volunteer in a local organization, or just an independent concerned citizen, there are actions you can take now to help ensure integrity in your local elections.



Here’s what should be on your radar:



  1. 1) If you are part of a political campaign or organization, you should be finalizing your election integrity plans. This should include identifying locations in which volunteers are needed and recruiting and training to make sure all positions will be well covered. Coverage plans should also include early voting sites and pre and post-election activities (like reviewing mail-in ballots and assisting at centralized collection points).
  2. 2) Make a last big push for recruiting volunteers. We’ve found processes run best when there are at least three poll watchers per polling location.
  3. 3) Register your intent to participate, as per your local processes. Typically, this means individuals sign up with a party or candidate of their choice, then the party or candidate notifies local election officials, however, every state process is a little different.



Click here to find your state election information on True the Vote's website.



Next week’s update will include details on True the Vote online poll watcher training - between now and then, drop us a note if you need us, and we’ll be quick to respond!



We’re all in this together, my friends. If elections aren’t truly fair, we aren’t truly free.






Catherine Engelbrecht 
True the Vote




PS Many of you have asked whether we are still embroiled in our IRS lawsuit. The answer is yes. We are awaiting the judge’s final determination in our case. The situation is challenging to be sure, but we are hanging tough. Thank you for your continued emails of concern, well-wishes, and support!



In May 2017, Mr. Kerner was appointed by President Trump to lead the Office of Special Counsel.


But just a few years earlier, as staff director for Sen. John McCain, Kerner was tasked with containing the pro-liberty movement. So, he called the IRS.


Newly released transcripts from his 2013 meetings with the IRS quote Mr. Kerner pushing the IRS to “audit so many that it is financially ruinous”.


Mr. Kerner openly conspired to weaponize the government against American citizens. He destroyed lives. He should be perp-walked out of the West Wing.



True the Vote has been fighting IRS-weaponization since 2010 - and the fight continues to this day.


Our pursuit of election integrity is what keeps us on the radars of politicos like Kerner. When citizens are informed and empowered they can take down corrupt political machines.


That’s why, as courtroom-weary as we are, we must continue to press on. For election integrity. For free speech. For truth. We’ve pared down our staff and support to a skeleton crew, but our work is ongoing, in ways seen and unseen.


So, I ask you for two things; first, let President Trump Know that Henry Kerner must go, and second, stay standing for election integrity. Volunteer to work in the polls, encourage your candidates to rally volunteers to help ensure the 2018 elections are free and fair - and let them know, we’re here to help.


We’re all in this together - and working together, we really can True the Vote.




Catherine Engelbrecht


True the Vote


PS Kudos to the great work of Judicial Watch for unearthing the Kerner transcripts. To read the full report, click here.

I’ve been humbled by your support over the last eight years, but rarely in the way I was last week, following the release of my video detailing the treachery of the U.S. Department of Justice in our lawsuit against the IRS. The outpouring of emotional messages and calls to stand strong reminded me why we must continue to fight against the weaponization of the IRS. We are all in this together.


It was bad enough to learn that the IRS had continued to target True the Vote while their lawyers stood in Federal Court promising the Judge they would never do it again. Now swamp-politics is hitting a new low, with the current DOJ lawyers having deceived us in settlement discussions. There is no way we are going to remain silent about what they’ve done.


People have asked so many questions about what’s happening in our case against the IRS. I made this new video not only to answer those questions, but to provide some guidance on how you can help.



2018 may well be the most pivotal election cycle in our lifetime. Election integrity has never been more important. We want to get out of court and back to supporting voters’ rights - but, we cannot allow the DOJ to claim victory for the IRS! We cannot allow the IRS to pretend the lawsuits had no impact and therefore claim they don’t have to respect our Consent Decree. We cannot stay silent while they block our petition to recoup attorneys’ fees after they continually delayed court proceedings and ran up True the Vote’s legal tab to nearly $2,000,000.


President Trump and all of Congress should hear about this - and we have an opportunity to tell them before it’s too late - with your help. Here are quick links to contact the President, the White House, and your Congressman - please, let them hear from you!


To contact President Trump, tweet him at @realDonaldTrump (be sure to include #TruetheVote) or call his office at 202-456-1111 To contact the US Capitol switchboard call 202-224-3121 for the House of Representatives and 202-225-3121 for the Senate.


We have until April 12th to file our final response in the IRS case, so look for more updates from us in the coming days!



Department of Justice Argues in Favor of Lois Lerner and Paves the Way for Future Abuse

HOUSTON, TX - March 29, 2018 - In a stunning turn of events involving the True the Vote v. IRS lawsuit, Department of Justice attorneys, representing the Internal Revenue Service, have filed a strident opposition to True the Vote’s petition for consideration of fees, claiming victory for the IRS! Despite wholesale admissions of wrongdoing by the IRS and findings by the D.C. District Court that such wrongdoing is unlawful and unconstitutional, the DOJ now claims that conservative groups’ lawsuits did nothing to change the behavior of the Internal Revenue Service.


In the filing, the Department of Justice makes the following claims on behalf of the IRS:


  • all conservative groups lost
  • the IRS is legally free to resume its discriminatory practices targeting conservative groups
  • the IRS’s five-year legal battle against conservative groups was justified


It is impossible to distinguish the Trump DOJ’s arguments from the Obama DOJ’s actions that led to this litigation battle in the first place. (Full IRS filing can be found here). In this video, True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht responds to the IRS’s outrageous denial of wrongdoing:



“The Trump Administration is defending the IRS’s targeting of American citizens? How is that possible?”, said Ms. Engelbrecht, “After all the Congressional hearings, all the courtroom drama, all the stump speeches decrying what happened and promising ‘Never Again!’; Mr. President, if you want to make America great again, then with all due respect, start by cleaning house in two agencies that have gone completely off the rails. End IRS abuse, hold rogue agents accountable, and stop the DOJ’s games. We are citizens, not subjects, and we will not be silenced.”


True the Vote will file their final response with the court on April 12, 2018. They remain hopeful US District Judge Reggie Walton will issue a decision that sets the record straight and holds the IRS accountable for their unlawful actions.


True the Vote Now Seeks Legislative Action to End IRS Weaponization

HOUSTON, TX - January 24, 2018 - True the Vote’s lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service has, resulted in a consent decree

True the Vote v. IRS Consent Order - Jan 21, 2018 by Catherine Engelbrecht on Scribd

outlining egregious conduct by the agency. In the decree, United States District Judge Reggie Walton declared “discrimination on the basis of political viewpoint in administering the United States tax code violates fundamental First Amendment Rights.”


“Our consent decree is a stringent admonishment of the IRS’s admitted discrimination,” said True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht, “but much more is needed to ensure that IRS employees engaging in unconstitutional conduct will face real, actionable penalties. We are working together with Senator John Cornyn, who will introduce legislation to ensure the rights of Americans are protected from rogue government employees whose discrimination and abuse has now been well documented in our court case.

I applaud the tireless efforts of our lawyers, in particular James Bopp, who led the charge in this groundbreaking effort.”

In 2009, True the Vote opened its doors in Houston,Texas. Now, Houston, along with all of southeast Texas, has been pummeled by Hurricane Harvey.

We want to let you know that the True the Vote team is soggy, but safe.

Thank you all for the incredibly thoughtful emails, calls, and social media posts sent from concerned friends.

If you’d like to help support ongoing relief efforts, please consider donating to the Texas Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief effort. I worked alongside them as a first responder in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita. This is an organization that hits the ground and gets busy helping people clean up their property and begin to put their lives back together. I’ve spoken with them this morning and in addition to monetary donations, they also specifically requested donations of water, Gatorade, soap, and gift cards to major hardware stores like Home Depot. You can contact them directly at the link above or text HurricaneHarvey (no space) to 73256 on your cell phone and you’ll receive a message from them with more information.

Please continue to keep our friends and neighbors in your prayers. So many people lost everything.

Thank you again. Rest assured, we’ll be back in the saddle very soon.

Forever #TexasStrong -

Catherine Engelbrecht

Founder, True the Vote

Hi Jody -

Our lawsuit against the IRS is making headlines - and we’re making headway! Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton ordered the IRS to start releasing names and documents. In fact, he outright asked IRS attorneys why they continue to “hide the ball.”

We put together a quick video to bring you up to speed….

The bottom line is that our battle against the IRS is still in full swing. It’s been a long four years, but we cannot quit.

What the IRS did, to me, to True the Vote, and to thousands of other organizations and individuals, is unconstitutional, unconscionable, and unacceptable.

Make no mistake; the IRS can and will continue in their targeting schemes unless and until they are forced to stop. We must see this effort through to conclusion. But we need your help.

This fight against the IRS is about far more than what they did to True the Vote. A win in this case will produce future protections that we will all benefit from.

Sometimes fundraising requests make their causes seem too surreal to really connect with. This is a very, very real fight. And we will keep fighting…with your help. Please help support our legal battle to end IRS targeting.

Working together we can win this….and, together we can and will true the vote.


Catherine Engelbecht

Founder, True the Vote

True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht offers this response to President Trump’s recent announcement calling for a nationwide investigation in to voter fraud.

“I am incredibly optimistic that we may be able to finally tackle the very real problems plaguing our election processes. The chaos documented during the 2016 election cycle was the clearest and loudest warning shot to date - systemic election problems must be resolved, or they will soon be the cause of a national crisis.

Current research exists only in silos of disparate data and shallow analysis, offering no basis for comprehensive examination. Known problems, like non-citizen voting, are rarely chronicled and anecdotal evidence is insufficient.

It is for this reason that True the Vote, supported by a select group of technologists, statisticians, researchers, auditors, scholars, futurists, election law experts, and process specialists, is leading a forensic audit with targeted investigations to expose election fraud and offer solutions.

I am incredibly optimistic that we may be able to finally tackle the very real problems plaguing our election processes. The chaos documented during the 2016 election cycle was the clearest and loudest warning shot to date - systemic election problems must be resolved, or they will soon be the cause of a national crisis.

The audit is phase one of our four year plan to include; development of a American Voter ID Program, Evaluation of Enhanced Election Technologies, Identifying Dynamic Voter Registration Verification Processes, and Development of Model Legislation.

We look forward to working with the Trump Administration in whatever way possible.

If our elections are not truly fair, we are not truly free.”

True the Vote (TTV) is an IRS-designated 501(c)(3) voters' rights organization, founded to inspire and equip volunteers for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information, please visit































































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