6/3/14 Z Street

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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, herehere, 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.

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