IRS Targets Tea Party and Conservative Non-Profits for Audit

On Tuesday, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) said the IRS targeted tax-exempt conservative groups for audits. 

The findings by Camp’s committee comes on top of last year’s revelation that the IRS had used "inappropriate criteria" to review applications from tea party and other conservative groups seeking to qualify as tax-exempt “social welfare” organizations known as 501(c)(4)s as early as 2010. 

"We now know that the IRS targeted not only right-leaning applicants, but also right-leaning groups that were already operating as 501(c)(4)s,” Camp said in a statement. He added:

At Washington, DC’s direction, dozens of groups operating as 501(c)(4)s were flagged for IRS surveillance, including monitoring of the groups’ activities, websites and any other publicly available information. Of these groups, 83% were right-leaning. And of the groups the IRS selected for audit, 100% were right-leaning.

According to Camp’s statement, the directives to audit the conservative groups as well as conservative individuals came from Washington, D.C., and not from a rogue office in a remote location such as Cincinnati, as the IRS claimed during last year’s scandal. Camp’s comments were made at a meeting where the committee was expected to vote to delay implementation of new Obama administration rules. Republicans believe that the rules will shut down 501(c)(4) groups, which are instrumental for conservative fundraising activities, as well as "get out the vote" campaigns. The Obama administration’s new rules do not restrict 501(C)(5) labor union groups from carrying out such activities.

The committee’s top-ranking Democrat maintained that Republicans were stirring the pot for political reasons and were wasting the committee’s valuable time on such issues. Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) stated:

Instead of this prestigious committee using its broad jurisdiction to address critical issues that confront us, it has been consumed by a tireless effort by Republicans to find political scandal, regardless of what the truth holds, as they look toward the November election.

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