In Z Street v. Koskinen, the IRS argued it should be able to discriminate for nine months before anyone is allowed to sue them. The absurdity of their argument literally made the judges gasp in disbelief.

The case involved Z Street, one of the organizations that experienced long delays for no other reason than its promotion of pro-Israel education. They applied for tax-exempt status in December 2009. When they hadn’t heard back in seven months, they called the IRS to ask about the holdup.

They were told “auditors had been instructed to give special attention to groups connected with Israel, and that [the agents] had sent some of those applications to a special IRS unit for additional review.” The IRS, of course, is not allowed to discriminate based on viewpoint when it approves or rejects tax exempt applications. So, Z Street sued.

The government, however, is fighting to keep the case from ever seeing an open court. They argued that Z Street’s case should be dismissed because the Anti-Injunction Act bars litigation about “the assessment or collection of tax.”

The three judges were incredulous. Judge Sentelle admonished government lawyer Teresa McLaughlin: “They are not in court seeking to restrain the assessment or collection of a tax, they are in court seeking a constitutionally fair process.”

But McLaughlin doubled down by arguing that Z Street’s case should be rejected because groups are not allowed to sue to receive tax-exempt status within 270 days of applying. (Though that’s not what Z Street is trying to do either, she reportedly made this argument with a straight face.) Apparently, the government would rather have Z Street wait two more months, while the IRS ignored their application. The defense’s brief even cited a previous case where judges had rejected the exact argument they were trying to make.

Judge Garland took McLaughlin to task:

You don’t really mean that, right? Because the next couple words would be the IRS is free to discriminate on the basis of viewpoint, religion, race [for 270 days]. You don’t actually think that? Imagine the IRS announces today a policy that says as follows: No application by a Jewish group or an African-American group will be considered until one day short of the period under the statute . . . Is it your view that that cannot be challenged?”

No doubt McLaughlin was instructed to argue as she did. She must know these motions and appeals are legally indefensible, but are rather just a method to buy more time to avoid embarrassing the Obama administration.

But the transparent ploy didn’t work. Instead of dismissing the case, the panel of three judges summarily dismissed the government’s arguments and sent their lawyer slinking back to her bosses.

“If I were you, I would go back and ask your superiors whether they want us to represent that the government’s position in this case is that the government is free to unconstitutionally discriminate against its citizens for 270 days,” said Judge Garland.

No matter how long they try to delay discovery, the truth will come out. Though the mainstream media has long since lost interest in the tedious process of IRS investigation and lawsuits, it’s obvious that the government is getting desperate.

Hopefully soon, they – and the targeted organizations – get what they deserve: justice.

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

2 Responses

  1. Katherine

    We are not supposed to Question Authority?!!!! What a bunch of baloney. Thank the good Lord this group had the money to hire a lawyer. What about those who don’t? That seems to me to be a problem we are running into these days. A person cannot just argue for themselves because it is all about legalities,not common sense or reason. Who am I? Just another little person,whose family goes back to the beginning of this country.

  2. Gloria Clah

    I believe the IRS should be abolish for ever. they gave tax money to illegal aliens, the IRS raise taxes for American citizens “for their own greedy needs”, IRS has lope holes that illegal aliens use to enrich them self with and its unfair to U.S. tax payers, & we as Americans need a new form of ways to pay taxes that is fair to all U.S. citizens/ no lope hole for illegal aliens, too.


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