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Taxpayer Standing

Generally, the status of an individual as a taxpayer is considered as insufficient to confer standing to challenge the action of an administrative agency in federal court.[i]  However, under certain limited circumstances, a taxpayer will have the standing to challenge the action of an agency in federal court.  For example, if the expenditure violates an express constitutional provision, a taxpayer can have standing to challenge the expenditure.

In Pietsch v. Bush, 755 F. Supp. 62 (E.D.N.Y. 1991), the court observed that the taxpayer must establish a logical link between that status as a taxpayer and the type of legislative enactment attacked.  Similarly, the taxpayer must establish a nexus between that status and the precise nature of the constitutional infringement alleged.

In Massachusetts v. Mellon, 262 U.S. 447 (U.S. 1923), the court observed that in order to establish standing as a taxpayer, an individual must demonstrate that the challenged agency action is based on the government’s taxing and spending power, and, in addition, that the action is contrary to a specific constitutional limitation on the exercise of that power.

In Salomone v. United States, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84041 (N.D. Ga. Sept. 15, 2009), the court observed that the supreme court has held on a number of occasions that interest of a taxpayer in ensuring that appropriated funds are spent in accordance with the Constitution will not suffice to confer Article III standing.

[i] Ercole v. United States DOT, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77858 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 10, 2008)

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