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. Secret squirrel

    Enough already, these groups were targeted because they were stupid! The Tea Party was on tv everyday complaining about the Government, so that automatically made every splinter group a target because they used Tea Party in their name. Stop allowing Congress to waste taxpayers money on these bogus hearings. These elected officials have wasted more money by conducting these hearings, they have yet to pass any thing hat will create jobs. Show me one Tea Party Group that is not political and I will take back everything I just wrote but the fact is these groups should all be fined for lying. I bet if the leaders of groups were threatened with real jail time for misrepresentation of their organization then this wouldn't be an issue. I say put all of them in jail if they lie Liberal or Conservative, I'm sick of the political system being corrupted. Real prison not club fed,!

    June 1, 2013 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  2. mastafunk

    Pssst

    The rethuglicans think THIS is a SCANDAL?? REALLY?? pmsl

    No we Have Not forgot the following RETHUGLICANS errors (and what they are CLEARLY trying to distract from.

    Started 2 Illegal Wars
    TSA-Homeland Security
    Bail out in the BILLIONS to fanny/freddie w/ NO REPAYMENT plan (Yes Our free money)
    All-the-while taking us from the brink off a Surplus to more than 8x The National debt was by the time Obama added the rest.

    June 1, 2013 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  3. James PDX

    If the heinous Citizens United act had not foolishly been passed, we wouldn't have come to this. Our government is corrupt and inept. I'm not just talking about Obama. It's been going on for decades and we just keep right on voting for these same two greedy and corrupt parties. Until America wakes up, they can expect more criminal acts from our government.

    June 1, 2013 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  4. Poodlepuff

    The Republicans have always been excellent at conducting witch hunts and finding nonsensical connections to dubious evidence to prove malfeasance that actually doesn't exist. If Jesus Christ ticked off the Republicans they would find someone in the Virgin Mother's ancestry that would defame his divinity.

    June 1, 2013 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  5. JohnnyYuma61

    If you think that the eternal chessgame is being won by the pepole, you are mistaken. If you think there is no chess game between government and the people you are a fool.

    June 1, 2013 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  6. Jim Davis

    If we went to a flat rate tax, we would not need the IRS and everybody would pay their fair share. IRS is a waste of tax payer money and is a hassle for anybody that they decide to put in their cross hairs.

    June 1, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  7. manhandler1

    Stuffit
    "This whole thing is really fishy and makes me angry as it does a lot of hard working, American, taxpayers. No wonder the Obozo administration ordered Homeland Security to purchase all of that ammunition. He knows his administration is in trouble and like Assad or Khaddafi, he will try to hang on."

    You need to quit watching Faux Noise and listening to Rush Boy. Comparing the President to Assad or Khaddafi is nothing short of pathetically delusional. These made up scandals are just your Teapublican friends trying to divert attention from the fact that they have virtually NOTHING to offer this Country but nastiness and divisiveness. These people are on there way out and the sounds you hear from them today are the screams of someone in their death throes . The sooner they take their last dying breaths the better it will be for this Country and the world.

    June 1, 2013 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  8. Stephen Daugherty

    The headlines should read "claim alleged ties" to the political groups.

    Republicans are jumping to conclusions, and nobody's really calling them on their conservative bias.

    June 1, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  9. Floyd from Illinois

    It's a vast left-wing conspiracy, I tells ya.

    June 1, 2013 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  10. Just

    The IRS of all government functions should be 100% politically blind. They have truly lost any respect ( if there ever was) from the taxpayers.

    June 1, 2013 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  11. Vijay

    Breitbart is a bad news agency like daily caller. I dont trust these news. We can trust cnn and even fox news to an extent. People scream about Obama administration on this, when the real truth is revealed, at that time see how many conservative groups get caught while applying for the 501 c 4 status. Trust me, I have full faith IRS. IRS is being there for a long time. Most Conservatives doesn't even pay taxes, why they have to scream on this.

    June 1, 2013 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  12. Dick46

    Breitbart has zero creditability. Remember the edited tape?

    June 1, 2013 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  13. ItSoNlYmE

    The right is just peeved that they didn't think of this first. If anyone thinks this is the worst "scandal" we've got in this country, then they're not paying attention. Citizens United will go down in history right behind Dred Scott as the worst SC decision ever. And I agree with the above – *all* pseudo-political non-profits should be scrutinized **very** closely.

    June 1, 2013 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  14. abnguy

    At least the media is now covering the story. They have spent five years being the administrations cheerleaders, it is about time they started reporting again.

    June 1, 2013 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  15. Colo001

    I love how liberals are trying to say conservatives see scandals everywhere, Hmmmm The IRS admitted targeting conservative groups, Hmmmm 4 Americans did die in Benghazi... Hmmm Holder is currently investigating himself because he forgot he personally signed the subpoenas to investigate reporters...
    Those crazy conservatives see scandals everywhere. Liberals are heading into a hard decade starting in 2014, And I thought the Conservatives blew it up during the Bush YEARS. Liberals are doing it a lot quicker and a lot larger

    June 1, 2013 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Dont you libs get it? If this can happen to righties it can happen to you also!

    June 1, 2013 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  17. curtis

    liberals are dangerous because they are so self righteous. most don't see a problem with this scandal or Benghazi or the DOJ targeting reporters. this shows liberals for they are "authoritarians".

    June 2, 2013 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  18. Bill Sanford

    If this is allowed to stand... then the next Republican President "rightfully" should use the IRS and all other government groups to persecute liberal organizations.

    This would only be fair.

    June 2, 2013 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  19. drewATX

    Just shut down the IRS already

    June 2, 2013 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  20. jrm03063

    No problem at all. When the GOP runs out of actual facts, that's where "brietbart.com" and Fox News come in. So, we can be pretty sure now, that there's nothing more to see.

    June 2, 2013 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  21. brainiac3397

    I love how these politicians make it sound like they'd never do such thing had their party been in charge...

    June 2, 2013 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  22. Jasmine

    FIRE everyone who did any of this. Then, when election time rolls around, don't vote for ANY democrats, as this is a completely democrat scandal.

    June 2, 2013 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  23. Andrew

    Well, the GOP certainly isn't going to draw the connection between Clarence "Uncle Tom" Thomas' decision on Citizens United and his wife's political activities in a farcical 501c4.

    June 2, 2013 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  24. Lizard Lance

    The Supreme Court chose to dissolve our country when they ruled foolishly and destructively in the "Citizens United" case. Now we have all types of mostly-conservative political groups scrambling for tax exempt status, and considering the rhetoric coming from the right side of the aisle - it's likely some of these groups should be vetted more closely than others. The right wing Tea Party folks are bringing harm to our nation and don't seem to care one bit.

    June 2, 2013 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  25. JohnnyBFury

    Planned Parenthood hides behind a 501(4)(c) and hey explicitly promoted Barack Obama in the 2012 election. Can anyone point me to the extra scrutiny that Planned Parenthood received? Thanks! :/

    June 2, 2013 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
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