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Sunday, August 29, 2010

IRS won't answer questions about Z Street

Ben Smith has been beating his head against the wall trying to get the IRS to comment on the Z Street case.
Internal Revenue Service spokesman Bruce Friedland hasn't responded to my inquiries about the general questions raised about a pro-Israel group's lawsuit against the IRS: Whether there's actually a unit giving special scrutiny to groups linked to the Middle East conflict, and whether their policy stands figure into that consideration in any way.

The Forward adds an interesting legal twist:

As the Forward reported in January, some argue that the 1983 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Bob Jones University v. United States could be interpreted to deny nonprofit status to organizations that oppose established American foreign policy. The Bob Jones decision, which found that “an institution seeking tax-exempt status must… not be contrary to established public policy,” was written to bar tax exempt groups from participating in racial discrimination.

Legal experts were split on the question of longstanding foreign policy, such as America’s opposition to Jewish settlements in the West Bank, could fall within the realm of “public policy” as described in Bob Jones. All agreed, however, that the IRS had never used Bob Jones to deny tax-exempt status to nonprofits that oppose American foreign policy.
There's quite a bit of skepticism that this could be implemented secretly, however. It would be nice if the IRS responded to questions about it.


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