TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Republican Senators Urge IRS to Resist Political Pressure From Democrats on 501(c)(4) Groups

Senate LogoPress Release:

After the IRS signaled its intent to consider proposed changes to the tax treatment of non-profit 501(c)(4) organizations, 10 Senators today asked IRS Commissioner Shulman to clarify the agency’s intentions for the 52-year-old regulation.  In a letter led by U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, the lawmakers questioned the IRS’s response to a public rulemaking petition from outside groups pressuring the agency to take action on 501(c)(4)s and said it was essential that politics not play any role in its decision-making process.

“We believe these petitions have less to do with concerns about the sanctity of the tax code and more about setting the tone for the upcoming presidential election, and we urge you to resist allowing the IRS rulemaking process to be subverted to achieve partisan political gains,” wrote the Senators.

On July 17th in a letter to petitioners, the IRS said it “was aware of the public interest” in 501(c)(4)s and that it “will consider proposed changes,” raising questions on whether the agency has already started a an internal process to amend its regulations.

The Senators continued, “Your acknowledgement of the political character of the public interest in 501(c)(4) organizations would caution against sudden changes to well-established law.  Yet, your letter seems to suggest that outside political pressure is actually what is triggering your agency’s considering of changes to the law.”

Joining Hatch on the letter are Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), John Cornyn (Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas).

Congressional News, IRS News, Political News, Tax | Permalink

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This headline is misleading.

Republican Senators--elected politicians with the power to cut the IRS's budget--aren't warning the IRS not to play politics.

What they are doing is warning the IRS that it needs to subscribe to Republican politics by overlooking 501(c)(4)'s blatant violations of tax and campaign finance laws.

These Republican Senators are defending massive amounts of secretive, tax-subsidized money in politics, yet are claiming it's the IRS that is playing politics?

Oh, the Irony. The Republicans really are very funny when they demonstrate their mafioso approach to government, threatening anyone who gets in their way and tries to uphold the rule of law.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 7, 2012 2:57:10 PM