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Tags: Jeanne Shaheen | linked | IRS | nonprofit | targeting | New Hampshire

Letters Link Jeanne Shaheen to IRS Targeting Scandal

By    |   Tuesday, 04 November 2014 07:32 AM EST

New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was among six U.S. Senators who exchanged correspondence with a top official at the IRS about cracking down on the political activity of tax-exempt groups, The Daily Caller reports.

Letters obtained by the Caller show that in 2012, the IRS wrote to Shaheen and the other Senators after they contacted then-IRS commissioner Doug Shulman expressing concern about new nonprofit groups engaging in political activity.

"The IRS is aware of the current public interest in this issue," IRS chief counsel William Wilkins personally wrote in a hand-stamped memo on Treasury Department letterhead, according to the Caller.

"We will consider proposed changes in this area as we work with Tax-Exempt and Government Entities and the Treasury Department's Office of Tax Policy to identify tax issues that should be addressed" in designing new regulations and "guidance," Wilkins wrote.

The agency tried to avoid releasing the correspondences, according to the Caller, delaying their release to a major conservative super PAC several times and threatening the group with court action. The PAC, Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, which was targeted by the agency for scrutiny, had called on the release of the communications in a Freedom of Information Act request.

Leading a six-person group of Democratic colleagues, Shaheen wrote to the agency on March 9, 2012, asking it to "immediately change the administrative framework for enforcement of the tax code as it applies to groups designated as 'social welfare' organizations."

In the letter, she also called for the introduction of a "bright line test" that would set a new rule requiring the groups to devote at least 51 percent of their efforts on nonpolitical activity, along with more elaborate disclosures about the finances of the groups.

"Despite Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire's FOIA request, the IRS has continued to stall and illegally ignore deadline after deadline for the past several months in order to delay the release of correspondence between their office and Senator Shaheen, and now we know why," a consultant for the PAC, Michael Biundo, told Breitbart.

"On the eve of the midterm elections, a plot between Senator Shaheen, Lois Lerner, and President Barack Obama's political appointee at the IRS to lead a program of harassment against conservative groups aimed to trample free speech has come to light.

"This abuse of government power should not be tolerated. Senator Shaheen should immediately release all correspondence with the IRS. Granite Staters deserve transparency and honesty from their elected officials but unfortunately, the Senator continues to hide."

Shaheen is locked in a tight re-election race against Republican challenger Scott Brown. Polls indicate the race is too close to call, with Shaheen ahead by 2 percentage points in the most recent poll, but behind by 1 point in another poll. 

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New Hampshire Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen exchanged correspondence with a top official at the IRS about cracking down on the political activity of tax-exempt groups, suggesting she played a role in the scandal that saw conservative groups targeted for heightened scrutiny.
Jeanne Shaheen, linked, IRS, nonprofit, targeting, New Hampshire
Tuesday, 04 November 2014 07:32 AM
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