TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The IRS Scandal, Day 1188

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal editorial, The Dissembling IRS: Documents Show the Agency Misled About its Political Targeting:

The IRS has spent three years trying to slow-roll discovery in lawsuits about the way it slow-rolled the applications of conservative nonprofits. The latest episode is on display in federal court in Washington, D.C., in the lawsuit brought by the pro-Israel group Z Street.

Readers may recall that in 2009 Z Street filed for 501(c)(3) status and had its application caught in the net of IRS targeting for groups that opposed Administration policy. When Z Street called the IRS to check on the hold up, an agent confirmed that its application had been sent for special screening for groups connected with Israel.

Z Street sued the IRS in 2010 for viewpoint discrimination, arguing that the agency’s behavior violates the First Amendment. The IRS tried to claim immunity but lost in federal court, clearing the way for discovery that produces evidence and internal documents. Now taxpayers are getting their first glimpse of how the IRS misled about the reasons for its decision to target Z Street. ...

Discovery has also revealed documents that show the IRS made early attempts to shield and obfuscate its special Israel policy. In a November 29, 2010 email, IRS deputy commissioner Steven Miller asked IRS employee Sarah Ingram about “an article on a letter we apparently sent to an org on Israel settlements. What can you tell me.” Ms. Ingram replied that she “Just told Ruth to pull me out when you have a minute. Not doing email on this.”

There are other emails on the subject that have been produced in discovery but redacted to the point that they are unreadable. The IRS is blocking them on grounds that the documents are protected by so-called deliberative process privilege. But that privilege was created to safeguard internal government deliberations not to prevent the public from getting information about government wrongdoing.

The IRS wants to stonewall evidence production until the clock runs out on the Obama Administration on January 20. Let’s hope the courts keep the pressure on the agency so Z Street can see how and why it was mistreated for partisan purposes.

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Comments

The IRS and the entire Obama administration gets away with 'slow rolling' because they face no pressure from the MSM who have disgraced the profession of journalism. Is it even a profession any longer? They have become propagandists for the Left.

Posted by: VoteOutIncumbents | Aug 9, 2016 9:53:19 AM

Shocking that the Obama administration is antisemitic. Well, Democrats are the party of institutionalized systematic racism.

Posted by: Wodun | Aug 9, 2016 4:24:47 PM

Mr. VOI: I am a little surprised that you consider journalism a profession at all. A profession is generally defined along the lines of "a calling requiring specialized knowledge and long academic preparation." I think that "journalism" fails on both counts and always has. Perhaps it is a craft, but certainly not a profession.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Aug 10, 2016 7:51:09 AM