Democrats Tried to Enlist IRS to Attack Conservative Nonprofits


The Daily Signal reports on a production of correspondence between Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, one of the most vicious members of the Democratic Party, and the IRS:

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., called for revoking a tax exemption for a conservative group for not masking up and socially distancing during the pandemic, insisted on a slew of investigations of other conservative groups, and pressed for the Internal Revenue Service to expand its reach.
In a letter dated Jan. 19, 2021, Whitehouse asked IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig to revoke the tax-exempt status of Turning Point USA because the conservative organization held an event at then-President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club without masking and social distancing.

Putting aside the fact that masking and social distancing proved to be of little or no value, they have nothing to do with an organization’s tax-exempt status. If there is a violation of local health-related ordinances, it is up to local authorities to enforce them. The IRS has nothing to do with it.

“Tax-exempt status provides a substantial benefit to charitable organizations and reflects the federal government’s endorsement of an organization’s activities,” Whitehouse wrote to the IRS chief. “Organizations that knowingly put in danger minors entrusted to their care should not enjoy the benefits of tax-exempt status. Accordingly, I urge the IRS to review whether it should revoke Turning Point USA’s tax-exempt status.”

Whitehouse is not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, but can he possibly be this ignorant? Tax exempt status does not “reflect the federal government’s endorsement of an organization’s activities.” The federal government is not in the business of endorsing the efforts of charitable organizations. In many instances, charitable organizations pursue diametrically opposed objectives, so that it would be more or less impossible to “endorse” the activities of both.

Taken as a whole, Whitehouse’s correspondence with the IRS “makes it very clear that a U.S. senator is attempting to essentially encourage the IRS to investigate his political opponents,” as Tom Jones of the American Accountability Foundation put it.

The good news is that the IRS seems to have resisted Whitehouse’s effort to bring the power of government down on conservatives. Thus, when Whitehouse and other Democrats wanted the IRS to collaborate with other agencies in seeking out violations of campaign finance laws by Republicans, the IRS commissioner refused:

Congress has not authorized the IRS to enforce campaign finance laws. In addition, Section 6103 of the Code strictly limits the IRS’s ability to share tax information with other federal agencies. Accordingly, the IRS cannot disclose any names or addresses of substantial contributors to other federal agencies for non-tax investigations, including campaign finance matters, except in very narrowly prescribed circumstances. Unauthorized disclosures may lead to civil and criminal liability.

That is reassuring. But I think everyone assumes that the Democrats’ desire to hire 87,000 new IRS agents is driven largely by their intention to hobble conservative nonprofits by tying then up in tax investigations.

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