6/3/14 Z Street
An important decision has handed down in the lawsuit “Z Street versus Koskinen.” It received very little media attention.
Z Street is a non-profit whose mission is to educate the public regarding Israel and the Middle East. It formed in 2009. And applied for 501(C)3 tax-exempt status with the IRS. The IRS agent examining the application told Z Street officials something chilling.
The agent explained that organizations connected to Israel were subjected to special scrutiny. “[T]hese 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.”
This is a clear violation of the First Amendment.
The IRS response to the Z Street lawsuit was the non-profit didn’t have a right to sue the IRS. It also claimed sovereign immunity – that the IRS could not be sued. U.S. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson [nominated to the U.S. District Court of D.C. by President Barack Obama on January 3, 2013 and confirmed March 22, 2013] denied the IRS motions and allowed the four-year old lawsuit to go forward.
This is why it’s important. The lawsuit was filed nearly two and a half years before the Treasury Department Inspector General reported the IRS was targeting Administration critics, conservative groups, watchdogs and Jewish organizations over their speech rights [here, here, here, here, here, here, here].
Depositions in the Z Street case could uncover more details in the IRS targeting scandal. We may learn exactly who in the Administration was calling the shots in the criminal misuse of the IRS.