It’s been widely reported that certain organizations with words like ‘tea party’ and ‘patriot’ in their names faced extra scrutiny from the Internal Revenue Service. The Inspector General found the federal tax agency targeted conservative groups applying for nonprofit status.
Pennsylvania’s senators are weighing in, in advance of the first U.S. Senate hearings on what went wrong.
Speaking in Philadelphia, Sen. Bob Casey said he thinks level of misconduct rises to that of criminal activity. Still, he was careful not to speculate about how far-reaching the misdeeds may be.
“We’ve got to focus on holding individuals accountable in this one organization which happens to be the Internal Revenue Service; because until you do that, and until you examine how it occurred, you cannot begin to put the pieces back together.”
Both Casey and his Republican counterpart Pat Toomey sit on the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Toomey says he won’t shy away from looking for answers beyond the IRS.
“Who authorized the IRS to begin screening conservative groups as they sought an application for tax-exempt status?” he asked.
In the last election, the type of nonprofits called 501(c)(4)s, so-called “social welfare” organizations, came under fire for electioneering on both sides of party lines without disclosing their financial contributors.