In March of 2012 Democratic Senators sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service demanding that Tea Party groups get extra scrutiny (harassment). The Democrats even threatened legislative action if the IRS did not act.
From Sen. Chuck Schumer’s website:
A group of seven Senate Democrats urged the Internal Revenue Service on Monday to impose a strict cap on the amount of political spending by tax-exempt, nonprofit groups.
The senators said the lack of clarity in the IRS rules has allowed political groups to improperly claim 501(c)4 status and may even be allowing donors to these groups to wrongly claim tax deductions for their contributions. The senators promised legislation if the IRS failed to act to fix these problems.
“We urge the IRS to take these steps immediately to prevent abuse of the tax code by political groups focused on federal election activities. But if the IRS is unable to issue administrative guidance in this area then we plan to introduce legislation to accomplish these important changes,” the senators wrote.
The letter was signed by Senators Charles E. Schumer, Michael Bennet, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeff Merkley, Tom Udall, Jeanne Shaheen and Al Franken. It follows an earlier letter, sent to the IRS by the same of group of senators last month, that also urged the IRS to better enforce rules pertaining to 501(c)4 organizations.
A copy of the letter is here.
This week Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana vowed congressional hearings and called the IRS actions “an outrageous abuse of power.” But, over the last three years, Democratic senators repeatedly and publicly pressured the IRS to engage in the very activities that they are only now condemning today.
UPDATE: Inspector General: The IRS targeted EVERY group with Tea Party in its name.