an interview with Lori Lowenthal Marcus by Jerry Gordon (August 2013)

“Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review.” The report revealed a broad pattern of discrimination against several hundred conservative groups who had filed for tax exempt status under Section 501 (c) (4) of the Internal Revenue Code. President Obama was appalled, Congressional committees were angered and soon a parade of witnesses including retired and former IRS Commissioners appeared. One senior IRS official, Lois Lerner, look the Fifth Amendment in her appearance. A House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Hearing on July 18, 2013 had appearances by both current Cincinnati and recently retired Washington, DC senior tax personnel that appeared to tie the disputed special reviews to a political appointee, IRS General Counsel, William Wilkins.

Alana Goodman of The Washington Free Beacon who attended the DC Federal Court hearing noted in her report the IRS argument and the reaction of Judge Brown:

The government argued in court on Friday that Z STREET should resolve its tax-exempt status, which is still in limbo, before any policy questions can be addressed.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson seemed skeptical of the argument, saying that the government appeared to be mischaracterizing the remedy that Z Street was seeking.

Z STREET said the government was misrepresenting its position.

 If discovery is granted by the DC Court ruling we may find who and why a unconstitutional act of viewpoint discrimination was perpetrated against Z STREET.

Marcus:  We filed in December of 2009, and in May of 2010 we received a series of questions from the IRS, asking for specific information about our activities. The IRS required that we produce for them, essentially, every document we had ever sent, emailed, posted or thought of. Also, as you will recall, they wanted additional information about our board members, even though we had already provided all of that in our application.

Then in July 2010, seven months after we filed our application for tax exempt status, our tax lawyer contacted the IRS agent in charge of our file. The lawyer asked her what was happening with our application, were they satisfied with what we had supplied, did they need additional information? She asked general questions, to get a sense of where we were in the process. And the response from the IRS agent is what set off the whole next stage.

What Z STREET wants the court to determine is whether or not our organization was subject to an unconstitutional process. Was our application treated differently because of who we are and what we think, rather than what we did or what we wanted to do.

If our organization was subject to a different, and lengthier process of review simply because of our political or ideological viewpoint, that is wrong, right there. That is viewpoint discrimination and it is not permissible.

The West Speaks.


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