Senator JD Vance (R-OH) and Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) sent a letter to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Daniel Werfel, raising concerns that a recent investigation into the conservative watchdog group, the American Accountability Foundation (AAF), is
politically motivated. In the letter, Senator Vance requests answers to a number of questions regarding the decision to target the AAF.
The Vance-Braun letter comes after the IRS informed the American Accountability Foundation (AAF) in a letter, which AAF shared with Fox News Digital, that it would launch an investigation into the watchdog group Sept. 14.
The IRS notified AAF it would inquire whether the organization "operates in accordance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code," according to the letter.
The IRS has historically unfairly targeted conservative groups, notably during the Obama administration.
"But, to date, the IRS has neither presented any evidence that AAF has failed to observe the requirements of section 501(c)(3) nor explained why AAF may be at risk of failing to observe those requirements," Vance wrote in the letter.
"I do not need to remind you that the AAF audit follows on the heels of an ugly chapter in the IRS’s history, during which the agency unfairly targeted conservative groups for scrutiny on the basis of their views," he wrote.
Vance and Braun seek information from the IRS about potential bias in selecting audits, citing historical instances of IRS bias against conservative organizations. One example Vance cites was in 2017 when the agency subjected conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status to heightened scrutiny and significant delays.
An IRS spokesperson told Fox News Digital the IRS cannot confirm or deny current audits.
“Without an obvious legal rationale for this enforcement action, many will reasonably suspect a political one. Public reporting suggests that the IRS has been lobbied by Democratic Senators to investigate AAF’s tax-exempt status. And AAF asserts that Democratic interest in the organization’s tax compliance spiked only after the organization published 176 pages of correspondence between Senate Democrats and the administration, in which the IRS was encouraged to target conservative groups…
“In order to ensure a constructive public debate about the validity of this enforcement action, please provide answers to the following questions by December 6, 2023:
* Have any IRS employees discussed AAF’s political orientation in connection with this enforcement action? If so, please transcribe their statements.
* Why did the agency choose AAF from among thousands of non-profits to receive an audit of its compliance with section 501(c)(3)? Has the IRS considered, but declined to pursue, audits of non-profits with progressive or left-wing views in the last six months? If so, why did the agency decline to pursue enforcement?
* Has the IRS been encouraged by any public official, in any branch of government, to pursue an enforcement action against AAF? If so, please transcribe such encouragement or transmit any written record of it. ”The AAF has published exposes on several Biden nominees for senior positions, which led him to withdraw some of their candidacies. It has also published emails revealing Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., urged the IRS to audit conservative organizations, as reported last November.
In June, the AAF launched an investigation into the IRS for building a government-run tax filing program that critics argue would give the agency too much power.
AAF made public records requests, first obtained by Fox News Digital, seeking communications and other documents from the IRS and the Office of Management and Budget concerning the creation of an IRS-run electronic tax filing system, commonly referred to as "direct file."
The Inflation Reduction Act, a mammoth Democrat-backed spending bill signed into law last year, included $15 million for the IRS to look into creating a free direct tax return system. Specifically, the legislation required a study by an independent third party examining the idea's feasibility, as well as a report by the IRS for Congress assessing the study, the cost of such a system and taxpayer opinions based on surveys.
The Capitol Switchboard is (202-224-3121), call today and tell your Senators you want them to support the Vance-Braun letter with their own letter to the IRS. Also, the House Judiciary Committee has a Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government chaired by conservative all-star Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. Call today and tell Representative Jordan you support the work of the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government and urge him to investigate the targeting of the American Accountability Foundation and other organizations singled out by Democrats.
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