Conservative sites tie IRS controversy to liberal group
Doug Shulman, the former IRS commissioner.
June 1st, 2013
12:49 PM ET
2 years ago

Conservative sites tie IRS controversy to liberal group

(CNN) - The controversy over IRS targeting of conservative groups took a new turn this weekend when right-leaning websites drew a connection between the agency's former head and his wife's employment at a liberal group.

The conservative website Breitbart posted that "the goal of Public Campaign is to target political groups like the conservative non-profits at issue in the IRS scandal," naming the campaign finance reform group where Doug Shulman's wife, Susan Anderson, is the senior program adviser.

Public Campaign spokesman Adam Smith said the Breitbart description "is not at all accurate."

Shulman led the IRS during the period from 2010 to 2012 when the agency subjected non-profit application from "tea party" and "patriot" groups to increased scrutiny. Shulman said he was not personally responsible for the practice, which an agency official acknowledged shortly before an inspector general report would have disclosed it, and his successor apologized to a congressional committee for agents' "foolish mistakes."

He left the IRS in November 2012 and said at a congressional hearing earlier that year, "there is absolutely no targeting" of conservative groups for political reasons. Last month, agency officials described the practice as a method of filtering applications which poured in following the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision on campaign spending.

Conservative websites pointed late Friday to a statement Public Campaign released after news of the targeting broke.

"There are legitimate questions to be asked about political groups that are hiding behind a 501(c)4 status," Public Campaign President and CEO Nick Nyhart told ABC News. "It's unfortunate a few bad apples at the IRS will make it harder for those questions to be asked without claims of bias."

The Daily Caller said that statement "belittled the concerns of disenfranchised conservatives."

Smith, the Public Campaign spokesman, said the group's statement was an immediate reaction to the IRS and pointed CNN to a longer Nyhart statement, which welcomed congressional investigation.

The revised statement said the IRS must be non-partisan and that "there are legitimate questions to be asked about political organizations posing as social welfare groups."

On Saturday, he rebuked the conservative postings, writing, "Public Campaign and its employees have worked passionately and tirelessly for 15 years to raise the voices of everyday Americans of every political stripe in our democracy. When the controversy involving the IRS emerged recently, we condemned the selective targeting of groups based on ideological considerations. To suggest otherwise is a gross mistreatment of the facts."

Asked by CNN, Smith had no reaction to report from Anderson. Shulman was not immediately available for comment.


Filed under: IRS
soundoff (361 Responses)
  1. Fred Evil

    So Conservatives, is Justice Clarence Thomas' wife's extensive involvement in Tea Party activities similarly concerning to you?
    I doubt it, hypocrites.

    June 1, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  2. Robert

    Here we go with yet another distraction to take our attention away from the fact that no progress is being made at all by congress as these guys stonewall anything useful. They'll latch on to any hint of political controversy while letting this country fall apart around them, simply because they're so insulted a Democrat sits in the Oval Office. I can't believe any American falls for this BS.

    June 1, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. John Diaz

    It absolutely amazes me, that even after the IRS admitted guilt in their own audit report, a lot of posters on this site still think that they were "just doing their jobs." Real partisanship at work and at its worst.

    June 1, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  4. lou

    you know how much this means to me?....0

    June 1, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  5. A True Conservative

    "republicans got more scandals"

    Are you paying attention at all? Can yoou honestly say that you don't see a problem here?

    June 1, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. Alfredo

    One reason so many conservative groups got targeted was many more of them took advantage of the new tax exempt status than liberal groups. The IRS was overwhelmed with applications for 501c 4 status. Liberal groups got questioned too, and one did get rejected. None of the conservative groups got denied. Anyway, these groups have to prove they are doing work for the "public welfare", not partisan politics. That can delay approval if there is little evidence of public welfare actions.

    If you put "party" in your name, it is safe to assume you are a political party. Also, the tea party is closely aligned with one party and all donations go to that one party. If you put "patriot" in your name, it could mean your are aligned with militant anti government militias. They usually put "patriot" or "patriotic" in their name because their actions and rhetoric don't always appear patriotic.

    If you want to be seen as a public welfare organization you need to actually work for public welfare. If not, it is the right and the duty of the IRS to question your status. Give money to, and volunteer at soup kitchens, pick up garbage alongside the road or from streams, or you can do needed repairs to a disabled veteran's homes. There's many things you can do to be a real public welfare organization. If all your money and advocacy goes to one political party, you should be questioned by the IRS.

    June 1, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. cassius

    actually, the liberal groups were subjected to investigation under the bush administration. also, look how many requests were legitimately denied vs the number filed

    June 1, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. littlepeaks

    democrats got more scandals and witch hunts than Carter's got liver pills.

    June 1, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. ramannapally

    Let all Govt offices recruit only American citizens, They will responsible for any wrong doing and not following the land of rules. Why the non Americans should have access to personal information of SSNs,,,,?

    June 1, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  10. Jeff

    What is being done about the IRS controversy? Nothing, because government is above the law. It is a shame that our President goes on television, says he is angry, and explains that he is concerned, disgusted, yada-yada but absolutely zero happens and no changes are made (other than some guy being fired who was going to retire anyway).

    This is corruption at it's best (or worst).

    June 1, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  11. Donkey Party

    There is no reasoning with, there is no compromising with, and there is no acceptance of facts with conservatives. They are a toxin, a disease, and need to be eradicated post haste. I crave Civil War 2 more and more each passing day, as these right-winger sub-humans don't deserve to mingle and reproduce in society. If their ignorance continues to run rampant, we, as a nation, are certainly doomed.

    June 1, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  12. GD

    Chicago style politics in action...

    This administration really is a joke - excuse, denial, excuse, denial <– repeat

    June 1, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. emskadittle

    this is the truth to the whole thing. "there are legitimate questions to be asked about political organizations posing as social welfare groups."

    June 1, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  14. LWJR

    Busted by Breitbart. CNN can twist the words all they want to, but Schulman's wife is a LIB operative. That's a big sleeping connection.

    June 1, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  15. GonzoinHouston

    501 c4 groups are not required to reveal their donors, hence, they are used to funnel unlimited undisclosed money to various political groups. The donors may not be publicly identified, but you better believe the candidates and groups that get the money know who's paying their bills. Easiest way to fix the problem is shine a little light on it by making c4's reveal the names of donors. No secrecy, no problem, and the end of 90% of the 501 c4's.

    June 1, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  16. GJGVT

    The funny part is, GW Bush appointed him.

    June 1, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. LWJR

    Public Campaign non-partisan? Who gives them their money? George Soros?

    June 1, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. Donkey Party

    Just in case you right-winger clowns don't know (and you don't), none of these conservative PACs were denied their exemption. With all the crazed right-wing nut PACs that were creeping out from under their dumpsters, the IRS was more than within it's right to thoroughly investigate each and every application. Let it go already, you all look as petty and small as your GOP masters.

    June 1, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  19. GJGVT

    Well True Conservative.... how much money did Whitewater cost? And how many arrests did it end up with? it's always a fishing expedition, one after the other... anything to avoid actually doing their jobs and working on meaningful legislation

    June 1, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  20. achepotle

    I totally support Obama and the IRS targeting these tax-dodging religious freaks..confiscate their mega churches fort back taxes and send the creepy diddlers to prison to minister to the other diddlers for 30 years.

    June 1, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  21. GJGVT

    Hello Tom? the combined federal spending has been added to more often, and in much more $$s during GOP administrations than DEM administrations since Eisenhower left office... why is it that you're only concered when there's a democratic president? Where were you 6 years ago? 8 years ago?

    June 1, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  22. mos

    More ado about nothing. Keep screaming "scandal" in the hopes that people connect the label with Obama, even though there is nothing there. I wish Republicans would participate in governing instead of whining.

    June 1, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. Veeblefester

    The IRS is a corrupt, criminal organization that abuses it's power routinely. During Bush they targeted liberals. They generally go after mom and pop and leave the corporations alone. This has as much to do with Obama and liberals as today's asteroid flyby does.

    June 1, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  24. BO

    If the libs were getting targeted can you imagine the screeching that would be going on?

    June 1, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  25. Alkess

    Lou. You know how much you mean to me?....0

    June 1, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
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