March 21, 2012; Source: Bloomberg

In testimony to the U.S. Congress, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman said that the agency is not targeting Tea Party-related groups for their politics, as has been alleged. Instead, he said that the groups in question applied for 501(c)(4) status, which is for social welfare organizations whose primary activity isn’t political. According to, legislators on both sides of the aisle have been pressuring the IRS to step up its examination of nonprofits which are being used to funnel enormous amounts of money to candidates without having to disclose the original sources of the money.

In this case, the complaint about the IRS’ investigation targets was brought to Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), who says he has received a number of complaints from Tea Party organizations about their treatment by the IRS. Shulman says that the questioning of the groups is not anything unusual in the IRS’ consideration of applications for 501(c)(4) status. “There’s absolutely no targeting,” Shulman said. “This is the kind of back and forth that happens to people.” –Ruth McCambridge