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Phony Scandal? Courts Open Window on the IRSís Political Litmus Tests
Commentary Magazine ^ | 5-29-2014 | Jonathan S. Tobin - Commentary

Posted on 05/30/2014 8:19:02 PM PDT by smoothsailing

May 29, 2014

Phony Scandal? Courts Open Window on the IRS’s Political Litmus Tests

Jonathan S. Tobin

Interest in the Internal Revenue Service’s outrageous practice of subjecting politically conservative groups to discriminatory treatment has died down a bit since the revelations about this scandal first hit the news a year ago. But a court decision that was handed down earlier this week about a similar instance of potential government misconduct may shed more light on the way the Tea Party and other right-wing organizations were given the business by Lois Lerner and the rest of what appears to be a highly politicized bureaucracy at the heart of our tax collection system.

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.

What has this got to do with the Tea Party and its complaints? Plenty.

As the Wall Street Journal editorial page noted yesterday:

This ruling will force the IRS to open its books on the procedures it used and decisions it made reviewing Z Street’s tax-exempt application, procedures it has tried to keep shrouded. As the case proceeds, Z Street’s attorneys can seek depositions from many who have been part of the larger attempt to sit on similar applications by other conservative groups.

In other words, this case may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back of the IRS’s politically prejudicial policies. If an IRS agent can reject or stall a pro-Israel group’s application on the grounds that “these cases are being sent to a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies,” then no group, no matter what its political orientation or cause is safe from being subjected to a political litmus test designed by any administration of either political party.

Z Street’s Marcus deserves praise for having the guts to persist in her challenge to the government for years even though the media had little interest in publicizing what appeared to be an outrageous example of how the IRS had become politicized under the Obama presidency. Last year Marcus learned she wasn’t alone when the news about the Tea Party broke. Now, as her legal process unfolds, Americans may get a better idea about how broken the system has become.

Using the IRS to punish political foes is blatantly illegal. If, as we suspect, the Z Street case reveals the sort of internal email traffic that will reveal how widespread this practice has become in the last five years, perhaps even a liberal mainstream press that still thinks the problems at the IRS are a “phony scandal” will start to pay attention.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: irs

1 posted on 05/30/2014 8:19:02 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

” - - - whose views “contradict those of the administration’s.”

On the topic of Obamacare that means that the IRS will be used by Obama to harass 80 % of all taxpayers.


2 posted on 05/30/2014 8:24:09 PM PDT by Graewoulf (Democrats' Obamacare Socialist Health Insur. Tax violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: smoothsailing

And this ruling from the DC District Court of all places.


3 posted on 05/30/2014 8:26:15 PM PDT by kevao (Biblical Jesus: Give your money to the poor. Socialist Jesus: Give your neighbor's money to the poor)
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To: kevao; smoothsailing
And this ruling from the DC District Court of all places.

By a young Obama appointee to the Federal bench, no less.

4 posted on 05/30/2014 8:29:45 PM PDT by kiryandil (turning Americans into felons, one obnoxious drunk at a time (Zero Tolerance!!!))
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To: kevao

Liberals should be VERY concerned about this, right now - because they definitely will be two and a half years from now, whether they like it or not.


5 posted on 05/30/2014 8:34:54 PM PDT by The Antiyuppie ("When small men cast long shadows, then it is very late in the day.")
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To: kevao

I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that. The judge is new to the bench, a 2013 Obama appointee.

http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/dcd/kjackson

I bet Obama, Holder, Reid and Schumer are all fit to be tied! LOL!


6 posted on 05/30/2014 8:36:49 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: kiryandil

How is it that almost every lawsuit seems to be in a courtroom of an Obama appointee?

Obama has been in office a little over 5 years...Where are all the judges appointed by Bush over 8 years?


7 posted on 05/30/2014 8:49:39 PM PDT by neverbluffer
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To: neverbluffer
Obama has been in office a little over 5 years...Where are all the judges appointed by Bush over 8 years?

One of them is Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and he recently ruled in favor of Obama.

8 posted on 05/30/2014 8:51:40 PM PDT by kevao (Biblical Jesus: Give your money to the poor. Socialist Jesus: Give your neighbor's money to the poor)
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To: smoothsailing
... 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.”...words fail.....
9 posted on 05/30/2014 8:54:34 PM PDT by Intolerant in NJ
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To: smoothsailing

If you disagree with us, we will shut you down.


10 posted on 05/30/2014 8:54:52 PM PDT by TBP (Obama lies, Granny dies.)
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To: smoothsailing
This ruling will force the IRS to open its books on the procedures it used and decisions it made reviewing Z Street’s tax-exempt application, procedures it has tried to keep shrouded. As the case proceeds, Z Street’s attorneys can seek depositions from many who have been part of the larger attempt to sit on similar applications by other conservative groups.

Wowsa...should be interesting.
11 posted on 05/30/2014 9:03:29 PM PDT by Girlene (Hey NSA!)
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To: Girlene
Hey Girlene!

I sure hope Darrell Issa is taking notes om this case.

this case may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back of the IRS’s politically prejudicial policies.

!!!


12 posted on 05/30/2014 9:11:25 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: Girlene
IF--and it might be a big if--this case can open up the can of worms the IRS has been sitting on so that the truth can finally wiggle out about 0bama's use of the IRS to target political "enemies", it might just create enough outrage, even in the LSM, to put some real hurt on him and his party for a long time

One can always hope!

13 posted on 05/30/2014 9:50:43 PM PDT by milagro (There is no peace in appeasement!)
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To: smoothsailing
I sure hope Darrell Issa is taking notes om this case.

No kidding!

Doesn't look like the court has ordered for discovery yet. Hopefully the judge will do so. Would be nice to see the IRS on the hot seat for once.
14 posted on 05/30/2014 9:59:26 PM PDT by Girlene (Hey NSA!)
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To: smoothsailing
Woops...meant to include this link in that post. Z Street’s Judgment day for the IRS has arrived
15 posted on 05/30/2014 10:04:21 PM PDT by Girlene (Hey NSA!)
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To: milagro

It would be nice to finally get the truth exposed.


16 posted on 05/30/2014 10:10:28 PM PDT by Girlene (Hey NSA!)
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To: milagro

The MSM will only be outraged as long as they aren’t hurt by their defiance of the Obama Regime. Obama has something on EVERYONE at this point. It will be tough to stand up to him. For EVERYBODY.


17 posted on 05/30/2014 10:11:49 PM PDT by originalbuckeye (Moderation in temper is always a virtue; moderation in principle is always a vice. Paine)
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To: neverbluffer
How is it that almost every lawsuit seems to be in a courtroom of an Obama appointee?

Two words. Judge Shopping.

18 posted on 05/30/2014 10:31:26 PM PDT by itsahoot (Voting for a Progressive RINO is the same as voting for any other Tyrant.)
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To: smoothsailing

Thanks for posting this. This is very important.

Here’s a fantastic link with an interview with the woman who started Z Street.

http://watchdogwire.com/florida/2013/07/31/z-street-vs-the-irs/

What was and is going on here with the IRS is very serious.


19 posted on 05/30/2014 11:44:56 PM PDT by Auntie Mame (Fear not tomorrow. God is already there.)
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To: smoothsailing
hmm..

20 posted on 05/31/2014 2:16:41 AM PDT by skinkinthegrass (The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun..0'Bathhouse/"Rustler" Reid? d8-)
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To: smoothsailing

bookmark


21 posted on 05/31/2014 4:27:45 AM PDT by Oldeconomybuyer (The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.)
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To: smoothsailing

Bully for you Ms. Marcus. Now, prepare for a massive, multiyear IRS audit, including anal probing, in 5... 4... 3...


22 posted on 05/31/2014 6:19:38 PM PDT by upchuck (Support ABLE, the Anybody But Lindsey Effort. Yes, we are the ABLE!!)
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