The IRS has faced allegations of politically weaponized, with claims that it made a “deliberate attempt to punish and suppress” a conservative watchdog group whose actions resulted in several of President Joe Biden’s senior administrative nominees withdrawing from candidacies.
The American Accountability Foundation (AAF), a nonprofit committed to investigating public figures and organizations, is now in the spotlight as the IRS reviews its tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status. This information comes from a letter sent by the IRS to AAF, which was obtained by The Epoch Times.
The IRS has asked AAF for a comprehensive set of documents, which includes all external communications related to its activities.
AAF President Tom Jones perceives the IRS’s actions as a purposeful, politically driven crackdown on the organization. This is partially in response to the watchdog’s efforts to highlight certain nominees’ radical tendencies, resulting in their unsuccessful nominations.
“This sudden request by the IRS is not random,” Mr. Jones said in a statement.
“The fact that the IRS is demanding records from the group that relate to current public elected officials is ‘clearly a sign that they are targeting our research and education activities,’” he added.
“It’s a deliberate attempt to punish and suppress AAF’s activities. It is surely no coincidence that AAF—the very organization that exposed the weaponization of the IRS—is now the target of it,” Mr. Jones added.
The watchdog has a track record of closely examining President Biden’s various nominees, shedding light on certain statements and situations that the group deemed questionable, and claiming some credit for the subsequent decisions by these individuals to withdraw their nominations.
For example, the watchdog utilized billboards, newspaper advertisements, and digital ads to inform the American public about President Biden’s FCC chair nominee, Gigi Sohn, who ultimately withdrew her nomination.
Mr. Jones said in an earlier statement that AAF had spent about a year and a half exposing Ms. Sohn to be “radical, extremist, hyper-partisan, with serious questions looming over her nomination,” in part due to what he described as her anti-police rhetoric.
Attorney Cleta Mitchell compared the IRS audit of AAF and the agency’s unfair targeting of conservative groups during the Obama presidency.
“As the attorney for many conservative, tea party groups targeted and harassed by the Obama IRS a decade ago, this certainly smacks of the exact same tactics used by the IRS then … and apparently being used again now against AAF,” Ms. Mitchell said in a statement.
“Before the IRS starts down this road again, it would be worth remembering the scorn heaped upon it the last time it allowed itself to be used as a pawn by a liberal in the White House,” she added.
In 2017, the IRS admitted its error in using names such as “Tea Party” or “Patriots” on application forms as the basis for screening groups’ requests for tax-exempt status.
The IRS also acknowledged that it had acted inappropriately when it subjected the groups to increased scrutiny and delays while demanding unnecessary information from them.
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