Last Updated:July 22 @ 06:57 pm

Seven Democrat senators sent letter asking IRS to investigate groups

By New Hampshire Union Leader

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and six other Democratic senators last year urged IRS Commissioner Donald Shulman to investigate social-welfare organizations that get involved in politics, an indication of political concern on the left over the IRS tax-treatment given to politically active groups.

New Hampshire Republicans said Shaheen should explain the 2012 letter sent to the IRS. Party Executive Director Matthew Slater said serious questions exist about whether the efforts "contributed to the outrageous practices that took place at the agency."

But the IRS had targeted Tea Party, Patriot and 9/11 groups starting in March 2010, according to Treasury Department watchdog report. That was nearly two years before Shaheen signed her name to the Feb. 16, 2012, letter.

The senators' letter makes no mention of the ideological leanings of the organizations, nor does it name any. The senators raise issue with tax-exempt status issued to "social-welfare organizations" that are formed to advocate for a political candidate or run attack ads against other candidates.

"The letter speaks for itself. Senator Shaheen asked the IRS to look into all groups -- regardless of their partisan leanings -- that might be exploiting the tax code for political purposes," said Shaheen spokesman Shripal Shah.

However, one of the seven senators -- Michael Bennett of Colorado -- issued a press release alongside the letter complaining about Republican operative Karl Rove's links to the organizations. Shaheen's office never issued a press release about her signing onto the letter, Shah said.

Last Friday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called on the FBI to investigate the IRS practices. House committees have scheduled hearings into the practice, and on Wednesday House Speaker John Boehner asked "who's going to jail over this scandal?" the Washington Post reported.

On Wednesday afternoon, Shaheen called on the IRS inspector general to undertake a complete audit of the tax-collecting agency.

"In light of these abuses, and in the interest of fairness for all taxpayers, we need a full and thorough audit of all of the IRS's practices. Only then will the IRS be able to regain faith and trust of the American public," Shaheen said.

Also Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., signed onto a letter with other Senate Republicans, calling on the president and his administration to cooperate fully with a Congressional investigation into the matter.

"This type of purely political scrutiny being conducted by an Executive Branch Agency is yet another completely inexcusable attempt to chill the speech of political opponents and those who would question their government, consistent with a broader pattern of intimidation by arms of your administration to silence political dissent," the letter reads.

Statements by Shaheen's office also noted her disapproval of the IRS.

Had the IRS adopted the bright line test for the 501(c)(4) organizations that the senators had called for, "the current IRS scandal may not have occurred." Of course, the IRS abuse had already been going on for two years when the senators wrote their letter.

The explanation? "If there was guidance in the first place, there wouldn't have been a need to call for guidance," Shah said.

Shaheen has been an advocate for more disclosure of the 501(c)4 groups. Unlike political action committees, the organizations receive tax-exempt status and do not have to disclose their donors.

In a July 17, 2012, speech on the Senate floor, Shaheen supported legislation to enact reporting requirements for the groups.

In the speech, she mentioned how the Koch brothers -- conservatives who bankroll groups such as Americans for Prosperity -- receive money from the oil industry and organizations that oppose environmental regulations, unions and campaign spending reform.

"As long as these donor lists are kept secret, there's no accountability for what these ads say," reads the floor speech, available on Shaheen's Senate website.

New Hampshire Democrats dismissed Republican concerns about Shaheen's 2012 letter, calling it a desperate attempt to distract from vile comments made by Republicans.

"It is impossible to read any NHGOP press release about the IRS with a straight face when their current chair owes more than $92,000 in unpaid taxes to the IRS," said party spokesman Harrell Kirstein.

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(c)2013 The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.)

Visit The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.) at www.unionleader.com

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9 Comments

  1. capricorn1Comment by capricorn1
    May 17, 2013 @ 8:36 am

    the democRATS are guilty as hell,and its time to pay the piper.

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  2. Jack ReacherComment by Jack Reacher
    May 17, 2013 @ 9:12 am

    It is now apparent that a big majority of people living in the northeast are continuing to keep their marriages among other family members. What else could explain such lunacy?

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  3. VoiceOfReasonComment by VoiceOfReason
    May 17, 2013 @ 9:35 am

    Although I am not a constituent of any of these lying dirtbags, I will contribute to their conservative opponents when these swine come up for reelection.

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  4. jamarcusComment by jamarcus
    May 17, 2013 @ 10:14 am

    “”It is impossible to read any NHGOP press release about the IRS with a straight face when their current chair owes more than $92,000 in unpaid taxes to the IRS,” said party spokesman Harrell Kirstein.”

    Hmmm … I wonder how they got that info.

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    • justinphilpotComment by justinphilpot
      May 17, 2013 @ 10:26 am

      your logic is beyond stupid.

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    • prairelivingComment by praireliving
      May 17, 2013 @ 6:23 pm

      Perhaps she would like to comment on the large number of White House employees who owe taxes also. Without an understanding of why the taxes were not paid (i.e. they are waiting to find out if they are actually owed) she is just throwing mud.

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  5. JDZComment by JDZ
    May 17, 2013 @ 10:14 am

    The liberal bias in the political and ideological aspects of our culture has slowly gained momentum going back to the anti-war era following the war in Vietnam. The Jane Fondas of our country, who are socialists, coupled with a myriad socialist/communist advocates and other anti-conservative special interest groups have continued to gain political power in our country over the last 50 years.

    These liberal/progressive/socialist activist groups, for example, have been extremely successful in taking control of several of our state governments such as California, New York, Colorado, and Massachusetts and also control key major high population urban cities like LA, SF, Chicago, Detroit, and New York.

    These high population states and cities have grown to where they have close to a majority of voters at the national level, and coupled with the electoral college system, we have elected Barack Obama, an inexperienced and acknowledged radical socialist to not only a first term, but to a second term even with the poor performance and strong socialist ideology being forced on the American citizens during his first term.

    So, is anyone surprised to find that the IRS or the DOJ may be using their power today, under the Obama administration, to harass and investigate any person or group that exhibits an ideological position different then that of the administration? Remember also here that Obama got his political training in Chicago and Illinois which is well known for their socialist and strong arm based policies.

    So…here it is, and not surprising to anyone, we see how Chicago politics are working at the national level. The big question on the table, now that some of the more egregious examples of their biased and strong-arm tactics have been exposed, will anyone of consequences be adequately punished for their abuse of power? Both the IRS and the DOJ have been used against conservative Americans for the last five years under Barack Obama.

    The culture, tone, and demeanor of the federal government starts at the top. The President sets the tone of his administration, selects his cabinet and hundreds of political appointees, and provides the goals and objectives of his/her administration. Barack Obama set the priorities of his administration and is responsible for the successes and/or failures of his policies and the state of the union, period. As he has stated, “the buck stops here” in his office, but doubt he really meant that…it was just theater on his part.

    Those running the IRS, for example, knew the ideology of the President, heard him criticize the Tea Party and conservatives in Congress, heard him say that conservative Americans hold on to their bibles and guns and are disinterested or uninformed, and has also suggested that they are anti-women, racist, anti-gay, and against those Amercans receiving government subsidies like SS, Medicare, and welfare.

    When the leader publicly expresses his ideological beliefs as Obama has done, those running the government fall in line and adjust their internal policies to align with those of the leader of the country.

    So..none of what is happening is a surprise..the American voters asked for this form of leadership…not just once, but twice in the last two election cycles.

    What we are seeing is the America of the future taking shape as the liberal ideology takes control of the country, and unfortunately, also see a major train wreck coming.

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  6. reidyComment by reidy
    May 17, 2013 @ 10:29 am

    What is the tax status of Acorn, Move On, Code Pink, etc. on the left? If tax exempt, how long did their applications take to clear?

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  7. Pingback: » Seven Democrat senators sent letter asking IRS to investigate groups » News — GOPUSA | Mike Beacham

  8. bendoublecrossedComment by bendoublecrossed
    May 17, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

    If you are concerned about IRS harassment of conservative groups you should be enraged by the Federal Campaign Act relegating people to second class participants while elevating commercial media to State approved press!

    The Newspaper Preservation Act was touted as a relief measure to allow multiple newspapers competing in the same market to cut costs, thus ensuring that no one paper could have supremacy in the market by driving the other(s) out of business. In fact, President Richard M. Nixon initially opposed the passage of the act (as had his predecessor, Lyndon B. Johnson) as being antithetical to the essential practices and character of free market capitalism. He reversed himself upon receiving a letter from Richard E. Berlin, CEO of the Hearst chain of newspapers and magazines. In the 1969 letter, Berlin intimated that failure of the law to pass would carry political consequences, and hinted that support from Nixon would conversely help the President and his allies. The Nixon Administration supported the Act’s passage, and in the 1972 Presidential Campaign, every Hearst newspaper endorsed Nixon for reelection. – Above is sourced from Wikipedia

    The newly minted campaign laws should have chastised the 4th estate as well as Nixon.

    Instead, shamefully, the Federal Election Campaign Act, to address serious financial abuses in the 1972 Presidential campaign, amended the FECA in 1974 to set limits on contributions by individuals, political parties and PACs.

    And adding insult to injury, the Federal Election Campaign Reform Act exempted corporate media from campaign laws and created the “State Approved Press”:2 USC 431 (9) (B) (i) The term “expenditure” does not include any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, unless such facilities are owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate;

    Giant media corporations are allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money influencing the political process because their political communications are said to have no value.

    But there is no difference between a newspaper or network endorsing a candidate or issue and a PAC, 527 or 501 corporations doing the same. Editorials and slanted news stories are merely State approved violations of unconstitutional campaign laws that abridge the rights of citizens to participate.

    This is contrary to the 1st Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    To restore citizens 1st Amendment rights and return the Federal Government to Constitutionally proscribed boundaries, Call your Senators and Congressman and demand they add ‘citizens and citizen’s groups’ to the language of the press exemption.

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  9. Pingback: Targeting Continues by IRS Amid Lawsuit Being Filed Today | Independent Sentinel

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