IRS Apologizes to Pro-Israel Group for Biased Treatment

The IRS Building in Washington, DC / Getty Images
February 1, 2018

A pro-Israel organization that found its nonprofit status subjected to undue scrutiny by the Obama administration's IRS as a result of its advocacy on the Jewish state's behalf reached a settlement Thursday with the Department of Justice that included a formal apology from the U.S. government for subjecting the group to unfair treatment, according to an announcement.

The Trump administration's DOJ announced Tuesday that it had reached a settlement with Z Street, a conservative pro-Israel advocacy group that sued the government over allegations the Obama administration subjected the organization to unfair scrutiny as a result of its pro-Israel views. Z Street was just one of several conservative organizations to sue the U.S. government.

The case had been locked in court since 2015, when judges rejected the Obama administration's claims that it did not act improperly.

"Z Street alleged that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) applied heightened scrutiny to applications for tax-exempt status received from organizations connected in any way to Israel, and applied this policy to Z Street's application, resulting in delay," the Justice Department announced in a press release. "The settlement agreement includes an apology from the IRS to Z Street for the delayed processing of the group's application for tax-exempt status."

DOJ lawyers issued a formal apology to the group over its unfair treatment and vowed equal treatment for groups of all political stripes.

"Tax exemption eligibility should be based on whether an organization's activities fulfill requirements of the law, not a group's policy positions or the name chosen to reflect those views," Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman said in a statement. "The attorneys at the Department of Justice work hard to ensure that all Americans receive equal treatment under the law.  Today's settlement further illustrates this commitment."

The DOJ recently settled several other cases involving conservative advocacy groups that claimed similar bias by the Obama administration.