Civil Liberties

IRS Pressed in Court To Disclose Policy for Dealing With Pro-Israel Groups

The judge seems skeptical of the agency's stance


The three-year legal battle between the Internal Revenue Service and a pro-Israel organization that says it was subject to discrimination continued on Friday, when a judge heard the government's motion to dismiss at the federal district court in Washington, D.C.

Z Street filed suit against the IRS and then-commissioner Douglas Shulman in 2010 after its application for tax-exempt status was delayed and it was allegedly told by IRS officials that the agency had singled it out for special scrutiny because its pro-Israel positions conflicted with Obama administration policies.

Z Street says it wants the government to publicly disclose its policy for dealing with tax-exempt applications from Israel-advocacy organizations, as well as a court decision on whether the policy violates the First Amendment.

"There clearly is a policy—it's just they haven't had the chutzpah to say out loud what it is," said Z Street attorney Jerome Marcus.