A court decision handed down by an Obama appointed judge, Tuesday, will force the IRS to disclose the procedures it used to target the pro-Israel group, Z-Street, and may shed more light on how other conservative groups were unfairly scrutinized.
Z Street’s lawsuit was filed years before the IRS scandal hit the news and before the conservative media understood how badly the agency had become weaponized under Obama.
Jonathan Tobin of Commentary reported:
On Tuesday, Federal Judge Ketanje Brown Jackson issued the first substantive ruling in any suit that challenged the IRS’s pose of political neutrality under the Obama administration. The case concerns Z Street, a Philadelphia area-based pro-Israel organization that filed for tax-exempt status in December 2009 because of its role in educating the public about Israel and the Middle East conflict. The group’s founder Lori Lowenthal Marcus wrote in the Jewish Press this week about what followed:
On July 19, 2010, when counsel for Z STREET spoke with the IRS agent to whom the organization’s application had been assigned, that agent said that a determination on Z STREET’s application may be further delayed because the IRS gave “special scrutiny” to organizations connected to Israel and especially to those whose views “contradict those of the administration’s.”
Z Street subsequently sued the government and rightly argued that its constitutional rights had been violated because of the “viewpoint discrimination” that the IRS agent had openly displayed. Now after years of delays, Judge Jackson has ruled that by asserting that Z Street had no right to sue, the government had tried to “transform a lawsuit that clearly challenges the constitutionality of the process … into a dispute over tax liability.” She similarly dismissed the government’s claims of sovereign immunity.
This ruling means the IRS will be forced to open their books on the procedures it used to review Z-Street’s tax exempt application and as the case proceeds, the entire picture involving other groups similarly targeted may become clearer.
The New English Review, which has been following this case, shared an “unsolicited anecdote” they received from an anonymous party who had contributed funds for Z Street’s lawsuit.
NER said “it is indicative of how the IRS endeavors to abuse its authority to intimidate well meaning citizens who elect to support and defend free speech rights under the First Amendment.”
Here is the story:
In 2010, we contributed to this lawsuit that Z Street lodged against the US IRS being aware that forces under the radar were working to subvert free speech about many social-political issues within America.
So, subsequently and not surprisingly, we were harassed by the IRS even though our documentation was prepared by and reconfirmed by our accountant and financial institution. We contested the IRS’s findings and their response was to give us a court date to appear for a resolution.
Meanwhile, we didn’t hire legal counsel as many activists before us had done and gone bankrupt. Instead, we bet on the IRS’s bad press like the media’s exposure of similarly hassled conservative and pro-Israel groups would see this through for us.
Our wait seems to have paid off.
Before our court date, we received an afterhour’s call from a very pleasant and cheerful woman from the IRS, who said our case was a “misunderstanding” and papers would follow showing we owed a minor amount, instead of the colossal number they had levied on us!!! Over the next week or so, papers were sent and we responded. Nothing new in months, so we may be home free. Despite the experience, instead of silencing us, we are more driven to support and ensure free speech.!
So, best of luck for Z Street. We appreciate having our Constitution respected, honored, and upheld.
Changing it should take place within Congress, not within the IRS. This is what Z Street’s suit is about.
Washington attorney, Cleta Mitchell was recently on the Kelly File to discuss this newest front In IRS Scandal: Nearly 1 in 10 conservative donors were audited by the IRS.
I noted that the list of conservatives targeted by the Internal Revenue Service for audits, excessive tax-exempt scrutiny, or tax privacy breaches included Tea party groups and their donors, the conservative Hollywood group, Friends of Abe, Franklin Graham,Christine O’Donnell, a pro-marriage group, Dr. Ben Carson, Dr. Milton Wolf , (Obama’s Republican cousin who is running for Senate in KS), and ObamaCare critics Bill Elliot and C. Steven Tucker.
We can now add to that list, donors to Z Street’s legal fund.
As Cleta told Megyn Kelly, “this is an area I’ve been increasingly concerned about in the last year since this scandal broke because people have contacted me from all over the country, talking about how they had never been audited before they donated to a conservative organization.”