Friday, June 26, 2015

Rand Paul and Expatriates to Sue IRS and Treasury Over FBAR and FATCA (6/26/15)

The Isaac Brock Society announces the "stop the presses news"  that Rand Paul and six other plaintiffs, expatriates, will sue the IRS and the Treasury Department to have the court declare the FBAR and FATCA unconstitutional.  Rand Paul to sue US Treasury and IRS over IGA’s (The Isaac Brock Society 6/24/15), here; see also Kristen A. Parillo, Rand Paul Joins Suit Challenging FATCA, FBAR, 2015 TNT 123-8 (6/26/15) [link not available].  The TNT article says:
According to Bopp, Paul will claim he was denied his constitutional right under Article II, section 2, of the Constitution to vote on the intergovernmental agreements implementing FATCA. Treasury has been treating the IGAs as executive agreements that don't require the Senate's advice and consent. Paul is a leading critic of FATCA and has introduced legislation (S. 663 2015 TNT 53-38: Proposed Legislation) to repeal FATCA's reporting and withholding provisions, as well as other reporting requirements and related penalties regarding foreign financial assets. (Related release 2015 TNT 50-95: Congressional News Releases.) 
Bopp said the other plaintiffs will claim that the FATCA and FBAR provisions violate the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable search and seizure because they require the collection and reporting of confidential financial information without probable cause or a warrant. They will also claim that the imposition of what Bopp called draconian fines violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
The distinction between executive agreements which do not require Senate advice and consent and treaties has recently flared up over the Iran negotiations.  See e.g., Treaties vs. Executive Agreements: When Does Congress Get a Vote? (WSJ Washington Wire 3/10/15), here; for a more scholarly presentation see Glenn S. Kurtz and Jeffrey S. Peake, Treaties and Executive Agreements: A History (from Treaty Politics and the Rise of Executive Agreements: International Commitments in a System of Shared Powers (U Mich Press 2008), here.)

There will likely be a web site that will aggregate and update news related to this adventure, so I will try to post the link to that web site when I learn of it.  Readers are invited to post the web site in comments and I will lift the link up to the main blog.

It is not clear the relationship that this new adventure has to Rand Paul's campaign to become President of the U.S.  See the web site here and the Wikipedia entry here.

By the way, there is one issue that may get fleshed out in the case if it gets past the threshold motions to dismiss.  The claim has been made in many comments on this blog that expatriates are unable to obtain normal banking services as a result of the combination of DOJ's initiatives and FATCA.  The Issaac Brock article says:
The other plaintiffs in the suit Mr. Paul has joined say they have been denied banking and financial services in the foreign countries where they live and work. The foreign banks don’t want to be burdened with the expense and paperwork to comply with FATCA and therefore simply refuse to accept Americans as clients.
The case might present a forum where those claims can be tested to see whether they are anecdotal or systemic affecting large numbers of expatriates.

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