Washington – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement after the release of an Inspector General report that the IRS was inappropriately targeting conservative groups for reviews of their tax-exempt status.
“What the IRS did was wrong. Targeting groups by their name or their ideology is absolutely unacceptable. The IRS has a lot of power and it is imperative that it be used evenhandedly. A full investigation should be conducted, responsible people should be punished, and action should be taken so that this inappropriate targeting doesn’t happen again.
“The IRS dropped the ball when it failed to create clear standards for the kinds of election activities tax-exempt groups can participate in. The IRS should have written clear rules and requirements for 501(c)(4)s years ago. There is no doubt we have political groups that are inappropriately masquerading as ‘social welfare organizations’ to claim tax-exempt status and keep their donors secret. We need criteria with clear bright lines laying out what groups with tax-exempt status are allowed to do and not do, regardless of the groups’ political views, so that decision isn’t left with IRS bureaucrats.”