by Thomas Lifson, American Thinker
The IRS scandal has just gained another dimension, and it is more than a “smidgen.” Emails uncovered by the House Ways and Means Committee show that the State Department was involved in the IRS’s attempt to deny tax-exempt status to Z-Street, the pro-Israel organization founded and run by AT contributor Lori Lowenthal Marcus, based on Z-Street’s pro-Israel positions that conflicted with Obama administration policy. This is known as “viewpoint discrimination,” and is strictly illegal.
The Wall Street Journal explains what has been uncovered:
…emails uncovered by the House Ways and Means Committee show that the IRS and State Department were conferring in 2009 about pro-Israel groups like Z Street and considering arguments to deny their tax-exempt applications.
In an April 16, 2009 email, Treasury attache to the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem Katherine Bauer sent IRS and Treasury colleagues a 1997 JTA News article sent to her by State Department foreign service officer Breeann McCusker. The subject was whether 501(c) groups buying land in Israel’s disputed territories were engaged in “possible violations of U.S. tax laws.” The article chronicles the controversy and whether “ideological activity” can “legally be financed with the help of U.S. [tax] dollars.”
“Thought you might find the below article of interest—looks like we’ve been down this road before,” Ms. Bauer wrote. “Although I believe you’ve said you can’t speak to on-going investigations, I thought it was worth flagging the 1997 investigation mentioned below for you if it can be of any use internally when looking for precedence [sic] for the current cases.” A Treasury spokesman declined comment on Ms. Bauer’s behalf.