Oct 13, 2014 9:42 AM
Kevin Landrigan: Scott Brown demands Sen. Jeanne Shaheen fess up on IRS scandal
Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown called on Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to release all her correspondence in 2012 regarding the Internal Revenue Service targeting of the non-profit status of right-wing groups.
"Yes, I believe it was an attack, an attempt to infringe First Amendment constitutional rights,'' Brown said during an appearance on WGIR-AM radio today with host Jack Heath.
Brown did not say Shaheen played a leadership role in the letter sent by Democratic senators.
Shaheen has denied acting inappropriately in the manner and insisted that she was questioning the non-profit status of many politically active groups across the ideological spectrum.
Brown also wrote a letter to the IRS calling for it to disband the Cincinnati auditing unit which conducted the probe.
"In a free society, the power of the government to tax, audit and investigate should never be used as a political weapon against anyone at anytime," Brown wrote.
In May 2013, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reported that the Determinations Unit flagged applications that "included terms such as 'tea party,' 'taxes,' 'debt' and 'government spending,' among others."
In their letter, Shaheen and the other senators questioned whether some groups with overtly political aims were masquerading as social welfare organizations in order to skirt federal tax laws. The senators urged the IRS to prevent organizations "focused on federal election activities" from "abusing the tax code."
The same group sent a second letter to former IRS commissioner Douglas H. Shulman in March 2012. They called for the IRS to implement a strict cap on the amount of political spending permissible for tax-exempt groups. The senators also called for the IRS to require organizations to document the exact percentage of their undertakings dedicated to "social welfare."