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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Oversight Committee Opens Probe into IRS for Selective Enforcement

'We are concerned that IRS may now be engaged in withholding legitimate enforcement efforts as they pertain to activist groups hiding behind their non-profit statuses...'

() The Republican-led House Oversight Committee is looking into allegations that the IRS is selectively not enforcing its tax-exempt rules against leftist nonprofits.

With new allegations of political bias, House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., has launched an investigation into the IRS requesting interviews, communications records and training documents, among other things, as part of the inquiry.

Comer said the IRS “may be withholding enforcement” of federal rules preventing left-wing nonprofits from violating 501(c)3 rules that prevent political lobbying. He sent a letter to the IRS raising that concern.

“Tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and implementing regulations requires that exempted entities are ‘operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational’ and related purposes,” the letter said, adding that many of these groups “seem to view their charitable work as indistinguishable from their substantial lobbying pursuits.”

Meanwhile, Comer points out, the IRS has a history of enforcing its rules against conservative groups.

Former IRS head Lois Lerner infamously targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups during her time in the Obama administration.

A House Oversight Committee review of that scandal years ago found that the IRS “systematically scrutinized and delayed conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.”

Comer’s letter points to one group in particular, One Fair Wage, a group advocating to raise the minimum wage.

“According to a statement of work on their website, the organization is “currently leading the 25 by 250 Campaign, through which One Fair Wage is moving legislation and ballot measures in 25 states…,” the letter said. “In civil litigation initiated by One Fair Wage, Inc., last year, the entity represented on multiple occasions that a significant activity of the organization, if not its primary purpose, includes lobbying.

IRS head David Werfel testified before the House Ways and Means Committee Thursday, during which the Oversight matter arose. The agency has taken criticism in recent years for significant backlogs and leaking taxpayers’ information as well as allegations of bias against conservatives.

“We are concerned that IRS may now be engaged in withholding legitimate enforcement efforts as they pertain to activist groups hiding behind their non-profit statuses,” Comer’s letter said.

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