During the presidency of Barack Obama the IRS became a political tool of the Administration to quiet organization that disagreed with its policies, in a case that has become to be known as the “Tea Party targeting scandal.” The first lawsuit filed against the IRS for is practice of viewpoint discrimination, Z Street Vs IRS, is finally over.
Representing the IRS, the Department of Justice entered into a settlement with Z Street, a non-profit corporation dedicated to educating the public about various issues related to Israel and the Middle East, The IRS delayed Z Street’s 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt application because its viewpoint regarding Israel was different from that of the Administration. For example, the Obama administration called territory outside he 1949 armistice lines “occupied territory,” Z Street had the nerve to call it “disputed territory.”
In August of 2010, almost three years before Lois Lerner announced at a law conference that the IRS had indeed targeted certain groups, Z Street filed a lawsuit contending they were being targeted by the IRS because they disagreed with the President’s policy on Israel. They filed their suit against the IRS after an agent allegedly told them his direction was to “give special scrutiny to organizations connected to Israel,” and that the files of some of those “organizations were sent to a special unit in Washington, D.C. to determine whether the activities of the organization contradicted the public policies of the administration.”
As part of the settlement was a Consent Order, a series of facts agreed to by Z Street and the Department of Justice lawyers who represent the IRS. Also as part of the agreement, the IRS apologized to Z Street for the delayed processing of its application.
The Court hereby declares that it is wrong to apply the United States tax laws, including any and all tax rules, regulations, policies, procedures, and standards of review, to any tax-exempt applicant or entity based solely on any lawful positions it espouses on any issues or its associations or perceived associations with a particular political movement, position, or viewpoint.
On the first of February, the founder of Z Street, Lori Lowenthal Marcus wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal called “The IRS Campaign Against Israel—and Us” which explained her seven-year-long battle against frightening abuse of power by the Obama era IRS. We pick up part of her account below…