Conservative sites tie IRS controversy to liberal group
Doug Shulman, the former IRS commissioner.
June 1st, 2013
12:49 PM ET
1 year 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. gstlab3

    oh i know lone obama worship him ans only him our great noble leader is that great a guy.,

    sure he is kids sure he is.

    June 1, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  2. john

    Shulman was appointed by Bush in 2006. Bush also appointed the head of the Tax Exempt Division Lois Lerner. Of course OBAMA is to blame because . tyranny

    June 1, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  3. waheid

    There is no reason why any political group should have non-profit status. As everyone knows, none of the political groups have as their aim the public good; they are in it to collect as much money as they can to fund their own agenda and there is no reason for not paying taxes on that income.

    June 1, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  4. fred

    Tell it like it is Robert. Republicans will go looking for any scandal possible to try to divert attention from the fact that they have held the country hostage for years. Listen to Mr. Dole Republicans– you need to put up an under repairs sign and go fix yourselves. Put up your tin hats.

    June 1, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  5. DJ Reality

    This whole IRS thing is just a big debacle. None of these political "Pacs" should have tax free status. This is such a crock. And Breitbart is just spreading a load to stir the pot again. None of these Pacs should be 501 (c) (4) liberal or right wing.

    June 1, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  6. erock

    It's ironic how this major scandal by our government is not top headline news, and our liberal media is keeping as quiet as they can about this. One can only imagine how big of a deal this would be if a republican was president...

    Typical.

    June 1, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  7. salgreen

    higher ups ordered the IRS to target conservative groups–even half brain, hard left liberals could figure that out.

    June 1, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  8. AW

    They are groups that self-identified as associating themselves with the Tea Party and Patriot movements. Which are not only highly political movements, they are heavily anti-welfare groups. Yet they are applying for tax-exempt status as social welfare non-political groups. In what remotely possible way would the IRS NOT be derelict in their duty to put them under heavy scrutiny?

    June 1, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  9. raul isodo

    Let's just simplify the whole thing. Keep the IRS out of it. NO political group should be granted non-profit or "charity" status. Either they are a charity or a political group. Not both. This way they can't complain that the IRS is limiting what they can do. If they want to use taxpayer money to further their political agendas, they can check the little box on their 1040 that says "Check here if you want $3 to go to the Presidential Election Campaign."

    June 1, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  10. Susan Anderson and Michele Obama liberal cabal

    "There are legitimate questions to be asked about political groups that are hiding behind a 501(c)4 status,"

    June 1, 2013 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  11. jdud

    Schulman is a Bush appointee.

    June 1, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  12. Ancient Texan

    Obama is trying hard to change the subject, but the next scandal is just around the corner. The problem with lies is that when you tell so many you can't remember them all, they always jump and bite you.

    June 1, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain

    @Stuffit: Ah, the ol' Obama administration is buying up ammo because they're coming to get us routine. Like the government is worried it would be out-gunned ... it has TANKS, ya know.

    There's a shortage of ammunition because paranoid folks like YOU have been buying it up and ammunition manufacturers have had a hard time keeping up production.

    Sheesh, you're a fool!

    June 1, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain

    It's wrong to target these groups, but you have to admit, profiling them made sense. So many of these groups – including big names, like American Crossroads – classify themselves as 501(c)4 organizations, which are tax-exempt and are defined as "Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations and Local Associations of Employees."

    In reality, they are super PACs, designed to funnel tax-exempt money to candidates and campaigns. For example, in the 2012 election cycle (through November 26, 2013), here are the biggest donors to American Crossroads:

    Harold Simmons, Contran Corp. ($20.5 million)
    Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas Sands Corp. ($11.5 million)
    Miriam Adelson, Adelson Drug Clinic ($11.5 million)
    Bob Perry, Perry Homes ($8.5 million)
    Robert Rowling, TRT Holdings, Inc. ($3.5 million)
    Weaver Holdings, Inc. ($3.4 million)

    Where's all the outrage from the right about THIS?

    June 1, 2013 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  15. Know Your Subject

    There would be no problem if none of the groups -liberal or conservative- were tax-exempt.

    June 1, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  16. jamesbz

    Yet another excuse for conservatives to play the whiny little victim. What a bunch of complaining, no-election winning weenies. Thanks to Citizen's United, the IRS was inundated with applications for 501-C4's. A lot of bulls*it "social welfare" organizations came to life, some on the liberal side, but with the popularityj of the Tea Party, a lot on the conservative side. The questionnaires that were sent to organizations were outragous and what happened is a big deal, but there was no conniving behind the scenes to victimize conservative organizations. For example, it Turns out, the Bush appointed IRS secretary only went to the White House 11, not 154 times. It's common for people to be cleared to come to the White House and then not actually go. The visitor logs are public information.

    June 1, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  17. aaron

    And be sure that these same screaming teabaggers have no issue with Supreme Court justice Thacker's wife being a teabagger and his failure to recuse himself from any cases involving the tea party.

    June 1, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  18. Burt Bungle

    Liberals, please take heed. Your love of government is destroying this country. Do you think things will get better or worse when government takes over your healthcare? Are you ok with any person having any freedom at all? Or should it all be regulated, taxed, isolated, demogauged, and then suffocated?

    June 1, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  19. Troy

    Sheep.

    June 1, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  20. jeff

    The whole concept of the IRS is corrupt. Taxing people's incomes?, this is bizarre. You tax "things" and/or consumption, not the fundamental mechanism of how people support themselves. People seem to forget that the Federal Income Tax was supposed to be a TEMPORARY funding source for WW 1, and the then "go away".... Problem is, Congress never repealed it per agreement .... imagine that ......

    June 1, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  21. Burn It All

    If DC burned to the ground I would bring hotdogs and a lawn chair. If I saw a congressman being assaulted I would quickly reach for my cell so I could take pictures for You Tube.
    Disgusted falls so very short as a dascription.

    June 1, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  22. mrl

    I think we should allow all this... and then when the republicans take office, they should be allowed to target unions and groups they don't like.

    June 1, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  23. IvotedforObama

    I consider lying and sending 4500 Americans to their deaths far worse than some people who we all know are political groups and not social ones trying to get tax exempt status.

    June 1, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  24. ???????

    I still don't get how an obviously political group can claim tax exempt status and NOT think they would be audited?????

    June 1, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  25. Tom

    Brietbart again. Now there is an organization no one can trust. They will say anything in any way to destroy others. Time for them to pull the plug on themselves

    June 1, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
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