Ralph Z. Hallow
The Washington Times : July 14, 2015
Sen. Rand Paul on Tuesday officially sued the Obama administration, seeking to stop it from enforcing a federal banking law that has led large numbers of Americans overseas to renounce their citizenship.
In a move with implications for his 2016 presidential bid, Mr. Paul joined six other plaintiffs in a suit filed by Republicans Overseas Action (ROA), arguing that the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is unconstitutional.
The lawsuit maintains Mr. Paul has unique standing as a plaintiff since it argues the Obama administration violated the right of himself and other 99 senators to advise and consent on agreements with foreign countries.
The 2010 law, passed by a Democratic Congress, has been a centerpiece of President Obama’s campaign to crack down on wealthy Americans he says have been dodging taxes by hiding their money overseas.
But it has become enormously controversial, empowering foreign banks to turn over overseas Americans’ private information to foreign governments, who then must turn it over to the Treasury Department.
The lawsuit argues the agreements the Treasury Department reached with foreign countries to gain access to Americans’ banking information violates the Constitution’s Article II, Section 2 that requires two-thirds of U.S. senators present and voting to approve a foreign treaty.
The suit also claims the law has inflicted unprecedented hardship on American expatriates, preventing them from getting banking services overseas and causing many to renounce their citizenship to avoid onerous invasions of their privacy and financial penalties.
The lawsuit could also have a political impact as the Republican Party tries to recruit the 8.7 million U.S. citizens living and working abroad to back it in next year’s presidential elections. That would be a significant advantage for the GOP’s presidential nominee if enough absentee overseas votes are cast in swing state where small margins make large differences in awarding electoral college votes to Oval Office hopefuls.
“This lawsuit speaks volumes about the Obama administration’s lawlessness and disregard for the Constitution,” said Jim Bopp Jr., lead attorney for the plaintiffs who, collectively, have eight separate constitutional claims against the law and its enforcement mechanisms.
(read the full article at The Washington Times