Since every protest movement includes hotheads who get carried away or extremists who are prepared to break the law, NOW's successful use of RICO has sweeping implications.
Robert Blakely, the Notre Dame law professor who wrote RICO, warns that applying it to protesters will have a chilling effect on speech.
Since CPAs usually are not involved in a client's operation or management, common sense says the courts will refuse to sustain RICO claims against outside accountants unless managerial involvement can be shown.
A number of lower courts have followed the Supreme Court's lead and dismissed similar RICO claims, further reinforcing the degree of protection CPAs are provided.
that the taxpayer was engaged in racketeering, placed the taxpayer in the same position as his co-defendants who were convicted of RICO
violations--for tax purposes, in the business of racketeering--and that the IRS was, therefore, estopped from asserting the contrary.
On appeal, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the accountants had not participated in the co-op's management sufficiently to be liable under RICO, and this ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court.
The only determination made by the Court was that the accountants' conduct was insufficient to meet the "operations or management test," requiring that they be actively involved in management to be liable under RICO.
Under the new test, RICO
counts against accounting firms will be subject to pretrial dismissal by summary judgment, absent a showing that a factual dispute exists about whether the firm was involved in managing the business.