The Honorable John Koskinen
Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1111 Constitution Ave, NW
Dear Commissioner Koskinen:
Like many Americans, I am deeply concerned about the inappropriate and unethical actions of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in their targeting of certain non-profit organizations seeking tax-exempt status. Accordingly, I am requesting that the IRS formally terminate the unit responsible for this outrageous conduct. Its actions were so egregious they call for the complete rooting out of the unit.
As I understand it, organizations applying for tax-exempt status must first file an application with the Exempt Organizations (EO) Unit at the IRS headquarters located in Washington D.C., which was led by Lois Lerner until she was placed on administrative leave in May 2013. From there, the Determinations Unit, located in Cincinnati, Ohio, reviews and processes these applications for approval.
On May 14, 2013, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released a report stating that the Determinations Unit used inappropriate criteria to target conservative organizations applying for 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status. According to media reports, the unit flagged applications that included terms such as “tea party,” “taxes,” “debt” and “government spending,” among others. Among those putting pressure on the IRS to investigate these types of organizations was Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), who in a 2012 letter to your predecessor, John Shulman, requested added scrutiny of these groups.
In a free society, the power of the government to tax, audit and investigate should never be used as a political weapon against anyone at anytime.
Although there have been public reports indicating reorganization of the IRS in the year and a half since the scandal broke, it’s unclear about the status of the Cincinnati Determinations Unit. In order to reestablish the integrity of your agency and the trust with the American people, I believe the Cincinnati branch responsible for this sordid affair must be officially disbanded so that it can no longer have the opportunity to violate the First Amendment rights of law-abiding organizations seeking tax-exempt status. Today, I am asking you to make sure this step is taken.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Scott P. Brown