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Camp: Did the IRS Improperly Target Donors?

September 25, 2013

Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) demanding that the agency determine whether individuals whose names were included on donor lists improperly obtained by the IRS were then subject to audit.

“The agency testified that donor lists were destroyed, when in fact those lists are still being retained in IRS files.  Given that the IRS has inappropriately targeted donors in the past and the fact that the agency still cannot provide any assurance that donor lists were actually destroyed, I am concerned that donors may have been targeted for further scrutiny.  I expect the IRS to get to the bottom of this issue and provide us with credible information that lay these concerns to rest.”

In May 2013, IRS acknowledged that the agency had been targeting individuals and organizations based on their political beliefs, including inappropriately demanding applicants divulge their donors.  During a May 17, 2013 Ways and Means Committee hearing, then-Acting Commissioner Miller testified that instructions had been given to destroy any donor lists.  However, documents produced by the IRS as part of the investigation included donor lists that, under current law, would be subject to public disclosure if an application was approved.  Some donor lists were actually produced to the Committee on September 18 – the same day that Acting Commissioner Werfel testified before the Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee about his efforts to restore public trust in the IRS.

The improper targeting of donors by the IRS first surfaced in June 2011 when IRS announced that it was examining donations made to non-profit organizations to determine whether the IRS would impose gift taxes on these funds.  Chairman Camp questioned the IRS action, and in July 2011 the IRS announced it had suspended any further action related to pursuing gift taxes from donors to such organizations.

Using the authority provided to Chairman Camp under section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, the letter sent today requires IRS to provide information related to whether any of the donors identified in the application files have been subject to IRS examination between 2010 and 2013.

The IRS is expected to begin providing the requested items later this month.