NRSC - Shaheen, Senate Democrats Pushed IRS to Act on Political Groups, Threatened Legislative Action

May 15, 2015

Several of the Democratic Senators - including New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen - that are complaining about the IRS this week were pressuring the IRS to act on many of the same groups as recently as a year ago, even threatening legislative action against the agency. Perhaps that's why so many are today trying to quell the storm by joining in the outrage.

The same Democratic Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Max Baucus who this week is calling for hearings into IRS activities, specifically called on the IRS to engage in that very conduct back in 2010. And he wasn't the only one. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer  and Jeanne Shaheen led the charge to call on the IRS to investigate many of these groups for political activity.

As the New York Times reported back in 2010: With growing scrutiny of the role of tax-exempt groups in political campaigns, Congressional Republicans are pushing back against Democrats by warning about the possible misuse of the Internal Revenue Service to audit conservative groups….And the Republicans are also upset about an I.R.S. review requested by Senator Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who leads the Finance Committee, into the political activities of tax-exempt groups. Such a review threatens to "chill the legitimate exercise of First Amendment rights," wrote two Republican senators, Orrin G. Hatch of Utah and Jon Kyl of Arizona, in a letter sent to the I.R.S. on Wednesday. ... Democrats dismissed the Republicans' complaints as groundless.

The New York Times also reported just one week before they sent this letter: The Internal Revenue Service is caught in an election-year struggle between Democratic lawmakers pressing for a crackdown on nonprofit political groups and conservative organizations accusing the tax agency of conducting a politically charged witch hunt.

Voters in New Hampshire may be interested to learn that Jeanne Shaheen was a leading Democratic Senator that pressured the IRS to investigate these organizations.