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Camp Blasts Treasury & Lois Lerner for Developing 501(c)(4) Rules “Off-Plan”

February 05, 2014

Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) pressed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen regarding Treasury developing rules to limit conservative groups’ ability to engage in public debate.

During a Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight hearing with the Commissioner, Camp highlighted findings from the Committee’s investigation:

  • Before February 2010, Tea Party cases were being processed and approved 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.
  • According to interviews, as early as 2011, work on potential 501(c)(4) regulations was started.  A June 2012 email between Treasury and Lois Lerner revealed that these potential regulations were being discussed “off-plan” – or not to be published on the public schedule.
  • In November 2013, Treasury released proposed regulations drafted in a manner that would shut down conservative groups, and marketed them to the American people as a response to “confusion” over the application of 501(c)(4) law.

At the hearing, Chairman Camp stated: “If Treasury and the IRS fabricated the rationale for a rule change it would tend to raise questions about the integrity of the rule-making process.

“I want to be perfectly clear – this Committee will fight any and all efforts to restrict the rights of groups to organize, speak-out and educate the public, just as unions are allowed to do so.  We will get to the bottom of this, and I expect the IRS to produce – quickly – the outstanding documents the Committee has requested.

“I believe the IRS has a long way to go in restoring its credibility.  But, you can take a first step by complying with this Committee’s request and stopping all action against 501(c)(4) groups until the appropriate investigations are completed.”