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Sheldon Whitehouse

Inside Look: The Genesis of IRS Political Pressure

The 2010 Congressional midterm elections were approaching. Attacks on the Tea Party and groups calling for less government spending and taxation were in full swing.President Barack Obama in his state of the union address in January had attacked the Supreme Court with the justices in attendance for signing off on the Citizens United case, for opening the "flood gates" for special-interest money in U.S. electionsAnd 2010 was the year Democrats went full bore pressuring the IRS to investigate nonprofit politicking, which resulted in the IRS targeting Tea Party and other nonprofit applicants who were ideological opponents.Letters from 10 high-profile Democrats to then-IRS commissioner Doug Shulman pressured the IRS to investigate nonprofit politicking, even threatening legislation to change IRS standards if the IRS didn't act.The letters show how elected officials pressured the IRS during an election season, fearing opponents were unfairly using the tax law to raise money to their advantag...

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