WASHINGTON (JTA) — In affidavits, Internal Revenue Service officials denied telling a pro-Israel group that they checked whether such groups applying for tax-exempt status oppose the administration.
“Z Street’s application was not referred to the TAG group because of an ‘Israel Special Policy’ as alleged in Z Street’s complaint,” Jon Waddell, the manager of the Exempt Organizations Determinations Group, said. TAG is an acronym for Touch and Go, the informal name for the Exempt Organizations Determinations Group, according to a report Tuesday by Politico.
“Z Street’s application was not referred to the TAG group because its viewpoints on Israel contradict the viewpoints espoused by the Obama administration,” Waddell said.
In a separate affidavit, Diane Gentry, the specialist who communicated with Z Street’s lawyer, denied claiming to the lawyer that there was a special policy for pro-Israel groups or that groups opposed to administration Middle East policy are given special scrutiny.
Instead, Waddell said, Z Street was referred to his TAG group because of a policy in which organizations that could potentially provide services to nations that have a “high risk of terrorism” are subject to further review.
The affidavits are part of the government’s response to a Z Street lawsuit seeking relief for the delay. Z Street applied to the IRS for tax-exempt status on Dec. 29, 2009. It has yet to receive a determination.
Z Street posted the affidavits and other materials related to the case, with commentary, on its website.