Conservative sites tie IRS controversy to liberal group
Doug Shulman, the former IRS commissioner.
June 1st, 2013
12:49 PM ET
9 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.

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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. Gurgyl

    So you do not want IRS to scrutinize your TAXES??? Idiots. Nab all these conservative thugs and attorney thugs in USA. Helping unemployed and poor, needy is nothing before these thugs rob the nation in TAX-EVASIONS. Nab. God bless you, Obama.

    June 1, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    So these idiots want to evade Taxes?? Nonsense.

    June 1, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  3. tpaine1

    I'll bet they did do a quick turnaround when it finally dawned on them the shoe might at some point be on the other foot.

    June 1, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. Sandy

    Stop just translating what republicans do and say and just tell us if they are telling the truth or not!

    June 1, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  5. Marie MD

    Two words, bs. Just like the oversight committee with the car thief/illegal gun totting owner is still trying, after nine months, to come up with something about Benghazi.
    I have to hand it to the repugs though. When they see blood in the water they are like sharks. Except sharks are an important part of our seas. The rethugs aren't important to anyone but themselves.

    June 1, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  6. HenryMiller

    Is this a surprise in the most corrupt administration in modern memory?

    June 1, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. Elucidated1

    Consider the following: Breitbart is run by Ben "we have to arm ourselves against the US government" Shapiro. The average demographic reader on Breitbart is 65 and on SS. You can find abject bigotry and intollerance on their site. So, my challenge to you is go post a comment contrary to their narrow views there and see what kind of response you get.
    You can't have any more fun than that.

    June 1, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. MaryM

    For everyone's information: None of these 501c4 groups are legal. (Dem or Repub) The tax exemption law passed by congress in 1954 specifically states that these groups are to engage in social welfare Exclusively. The scandal is that the IRS changed the word exclusively to primarily in 1959. Which is illegal because only Congress can make or change the laws. Soooooooooo all you 501c4s get ready to be taxed. Dem and Repub.

    June 1, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. Dave Robertson

    Breitbart?! This guy has been exposed as a liar so many times that only a complete fool would believe anything that he says.

    June 1, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. Tim

    Every thinking person knew Liberal extremists were running unchecked within the government under the protection of Obama and his cronies. It's no surprise that their misdeeds and unethical conduct continues to come to light. What is becoming more clear is that the Obama administration is not really incompetent, they are evil – using their power to persecute their political critics. Obama and his cronies really hate America.

    June 1, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. darth's daughter

    Does that mean they have decided to look under the table and the back door of banks for free political presents?

    And what about oj's legal fees, whose paying them?

    June 1, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. William

    I noticed those "wing-conservative" groups have NEVER stated that Shulman had been nominated for IRS commissioner by George Bush.

    June 1, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  13. ronbad

    Sure the government agency responsible for collecting taxes is not targeting groups whose charters call for lower taxes and smaller government. Sure the organization that benefits most from massive liberal expansion of government is not targeting conservatives that oppose big government. No possibility of bias there.

    June 1, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. Susan

    They are grasping at straws to keep this controversy alive as the economy gets better and destroys their favorite narrative. Poor conservatives.

    June 1, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. Jack

    And where were you when the liberals were targeted?

    June 1, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  16. Ohreally

    LOL another "smoking Gun', just like the 157 visits to the WH. Brietbart dot com should have gone the way of it's founder. They have zero credibility in anything.

    June 1, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  17. whoopitydoo2

    At what point do we throw these liberals in jail? Enough already! Nixon was impeached for MUCH LESS!

    June 1, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. texasnotea

    My wife works for Ford and I drive a Chevy. Wow, you gop'ers will do anything to try and discredit the President. Shear desperation on the part of the gop, shear desperation,

    June 1, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. kay

    Why would anyone sane person believe this piece of trash? The Shirly Sherrod case should be enough not to believe this web blog. They wouldn't every put out true facts.

    June 1, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. MIke

    Tea party express mad at the IRS for doing their job...ridiculous...just ridiculous...

    June 1, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. Alastes

    Why shouldn't these tax evaders be targeted? Their whole platform is built on doing away with taxes. Of course they should be profiled.

    June 1, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. Daremonai

    In other words, 'how dare liberals act like us!'. This kind of stuff has been par for the course for liberal targets for decades now, and conservative groups were always perfectly happy about it since liberals were 'dangerous'. Now it happens to a handful of conservative groups and they throw a hissy fit.

    June 1, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. 1UncleAl

    Everybody knows how 'accurate' these conservative websites are. I'm surprised they didn't accuse Obama for being directly involved.

    June 1, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. David DeForge

    "Conservative sites tie IRS controversy to liberal group" – I can also find you an accountant in Hollywood that'll prove on paper that Star Wars lost money.

    Move along.

    June 1, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. 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.

    June 1, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
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