COMMITTEE on WAYS and MEANS

Chairman Dave Camp

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Sarah Swinehart (202) 226-4774

IRS Agrees to Turn Over Lerner Documents to Camp

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Washington, Mar 7 | comments
Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) announced that after months of discussions with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding producing documents pertaining to the Committee’s investigation of the IRS targeting of conservative groups and subsequent issuance of 501(c)(4) rulemaking, the IRS will turn over Lois Lerner emails and documents to the Chairman.

“The IRS has decided to finally make Lois Lerner’s documents and emails available to the Committee.  This is a significant step forward and will help us complete our investigation into the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups.  From the few Lerner documents we have received, we know that Washington, DC orchestrated the targeting of groups applying for tax-exempt status, surveillance of existing tax-exempt groups and formed the proposed 501(c)(4) rules designed to push conservative groups out of the public forum.  The remaining documents are key to determining the level of wrong doing and deception committed by this agency.”

Background:
February 24, 2014, Chairman Camp wrote to IRS Commissioner Koskinen warning that if the IRS did not comply with the repeated requests for all Lerner documents, he would be forced to consider subpoenaing the information.

The Ways and Means Committee investigation has uncovered that:
  • Before February 2010, the IRS was processing and approving Tea Party cases within three months without Washington, DC intervention.
  • Tea Party cases were flagged due to “media attention” in February 2010, not as a result of any confusion as to how to interpret 501(c)(4) law.
  • The IRS targeted not only right-leaning applicants, but also right-leaning groups that were already operating as 501(c)(4)s.  At Washington, DC’s direction, dozens of groups operating as 501(c)(4)s were flagged for IRS surveillance, including monitoring of the groups’ activities, websites and any other publicly available information. 
    • Of these groups, 83 percent were right-leaning. 
    • And of the groups the IRS selected for audit, 100 percent were right-leaning.
  • According to interviews with IRS employees, as early as 2011, work started on new 501(c)(4) regulations that would remove conservative groups from the public square.  A June 2012 email between Treasury officials and then-IRS Director of Tax Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner revealed that these potential regulations were being discussed “off-plan” – meaning that the plans for the regulations were not to be published on the public schedule.  Treasury’s fabricated rationale for changing a 50-year old rule raises serious questions about the integrity of the rule-making process and counsels for putting a hold on the draft rules.
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