As THE WEEKLY STANDARD reported in August, pro-Israel group Z Street believes it was discriminated against after "Z Street was told by an IRS agent that it might not be granted 501(c)(3) status, which would allow the group to be tax exempt, because its position toward Israel differs from the Obama administration's official policies." Today, Z Street continues its legal battle to obtain tax-exempt status from the IRS.
Here's the press release the group is about to release, outlining the latest developments:
Z STREET: IRS continues Constitutional violations concerning Israel
Z STREET, an organization devoted to pro-Israel public education, today filed in federal court its Opposition to the government’s effort to continue violating the US Constitution by discriminating against the organization because its views on Israel and the Middle East differ from those of this government. On August 25, 2010 Z STREET filed a Complaint in federal court charging the Internal Revenue Service with constitutional violations by subjecting Z STREET’s application for tax exemption to a discriminatory process.
In its response to Z STREET’s Complaint, the government did not deny that it engaged in this First Amendment violation. Instead, the government’s position is that (1) it can violate the Constitution whenever it wants and the only way to stop it is if the government agrees to be stopped, and (2) Z STREET should go to a different court to get something it should already have - tax exempt status - were it not for the constitutional violation the government has inflicted upon it.
“As every American knows, the US government is bound by the Constitution, and it can be hailed into court and ordered to cease unconstitutional action whether it consents or not,” said Lori Lowenthal Marcus, president of Z STREET. “This evasive measure simply compounds the unconstitutional process by which our effort to achieve tax-exempt status has been, and is being, reviewed.”
Marcus added, “we have provided evidence that another applicant for charitable exemption was asked by the IRS, in writing, in connection with its application, whether it supports the existence of Israel, and what that organization’s religious beliefs are about Israel. The other organization is a Jewish one with a religious focus and has nothing to do with Israel at all,” she said. “There is something very serious, and very wrong, in the process the IRS is using to allocate tax exempt determinations, and Z STREET is committed to exposing and righting that wrong.”
And here's a copy of the full document Z Street filed in court today: