The ACLJ is currently representing dozens of Tea Party groups across the country to fend off intrusive and unconstitutional inquiries from the IRS. Because these inquiries go so far beyond what the IRS needs to fulfill its enforcement duties, and considering the community of groups that are receiving these inquiries (Tea Party groups), it is hard to conclude anything other than that this is a politically motivated effort.
Fortunately, in addition to the legal defense being provided by the ACLJ, several U.S. Senators led by Sen. Orrin Hatch (UT) have taken an active interest in the IRS’ overly aggressive behavior. In March, 12 Senators sent a letter to the IRS demanding information about why Tea Party groups were being required to turn over information as sensitive as donor lists as they pursued tax-exempt status. The Senators also asked for an explanation for why mostly conservative applicants were being targeted.
Fast forward to July 17, 2012 when the IRS responded to an inquiry from liberal groups Democracy 21 and Campaign Legal Center by saying that it would consider changes to the tax treatment of social welfare groups. This reply was sent despite the fact that the IRS has given no public indication of considering such a change, has not requested public comment, and has not communicated that this is among their current list of priorities.
Thankfully, Sen. Hatch and most of the same Senators (10 in all) have fired back again. In a letter sent yesterday, the Senators wrote: “we urge you to resist allowing the IRS rulemaking process to be subverted to achieve partisan political gains.” The letter went on to state that any change to the more- than-50-year-old regulation must go through regular order and be subjected to thorough public comment.
We applaud Sen. Hatch and his colleagues for standing up to the IRS, an organization that seems increasingly bent on becoming a political tool in the hands of the Left. Meanwhile, we will continue working to ensure that Tea Party groups across the nation have access to the same tax benefits as other “more politically correct” groups.