Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and six other plaintiffs’ efforts to challenge parts of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) were thwarted when the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio dismissed their claims for lack of standing. Crawford v. Dep’t of Treasury, S.D. Ohio, US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio No. 3:15-cv-00250, (April 26, 2016). A copy of the ruling can be accessed online.
Senator Paul based his legal standing on his role as a US Senator, arguing a loss of political power as his injury. The court held Senator Paul did not have standing to litigate his claim because he had not alleged an injury to himself and that the “institutional injury he alleges is wholly abstract and widely dispersed.” The court noted that “[a] legislator does not hold any legally protected interest in proper application of the law that is distinct from the interest held by every member of the public.”
The court also found that another plaintiff did not have standing because his ability to sue could not be based on an injury caused by third parties. This plaintiff argued that because of the FATCA requirements, his brokerage firm refused to work with American clients. He also argued that he was uncomfortable with the reporting requirements and feared the “unconstitutionally excessive fines” if he willfully failed to file a “Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts” or FBAR.
The remaining plaintiffs made similar arguments that the court refused to sustain.