It has now come out that Senator Shaheen was among the eight democrats who wrote the IRS asking them to specifically target conservative groups.
We write to ask the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) to immediately change the administrative framework for enforcement of the tax code as it applies to groups designated as “social welfare” organizations. These groups receive tax and other advantages under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code (hereinafter, “IRC” or the “Code”), but some of them also are engaged in a substantial amount of political campaign activity.
IRS regulations have long maintained that political campaign activity by a 501(c)(4) entity must not be the “primary purpose” of the organization. These regulations are intended to implement the statute, which requires that such organizations be operated exclusively for the public welfare. But we think the existing IRS regulations run afoul of the law since they only require social welfare activities to be the 'primary purpose' of a nonprofit when the Code says this must be its 'exclusive' purpose. In recent years, this daylight between the law and the IRS regulations has been exploited by groups devoted chiefly to political election activities who operate behind a facade of charity work.
The IRS should already possess the authority to issue immediate guidance on this matter. We urge the IRS to take these steps immediately to prevent abuse of the tax code by political groups focused on federal election activities. But if the IRS is unable to issue administrative guidance in this area then we plan to introduce legislation to accomplish these important changes.
Because of this, even religious groups who told their members to actually walk the walk of their faith and support only those candidates who actually adhere to what they believe as Christians were targetted.