The Internal Revenue Service has moved to audit a conservative group that has exposed the radicalism of some of President Joe Biden’s nominees to senior administrative posts, and in so doing, led him to withdraw their candidacies.
The American Accountability Foundation has exposed numerous Biden nominees, and it published emails showing that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., had encouraged the IRS to target conservative organizations, including AAF, for extra scrutiny and investigation.
“Senator Whitehouse has repeatedly called for the IRS to investigate AAF—by name,” AAF President Tom Jones told The Daily Signal in an emailed statement Monday. “Attacking groups like ours has been a priority for Senator Whitehouse and it appears the Biden admin has heeded his calls.”
“We’re auditing your organization’s Form 990 for the tax year ended December 31, 2021,” an IRS revenue agent wrote in a Sept. 14 letter to AAF. The organization provided a copy of the letter to The Daily Signal.
The IRS insisted it does not launch audits for partisan reasons. A spokesman said he could not confirm the audit.
“Under the federal tax law, federal employees can neither confirm nor deny that a particular organization is or is not being audited,” IRS spokesman Anthony Burke told The Daily Signal in a phone interview Monday. “We’re precluded from disclosing tax return information.”
Burke directed The Daily Signal to IRS Publication 556, which explains the examination of returns.
“AAF is being attacked because it is successful,” Jones said. He mentioned a few of the Biden nominees AAF criticized whose nominations Biden later revoked.
When Biden nominated David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Jones unearthed allegations that Chipman, who had served as a special agent at ATF until 2012, had remarked that “African American agents … must have been cheating” because they passed an exam. Biden withdrew Chipman’s nomination after AAF revealed the alleged comments.
When Biden nominated Gigi Sohn to join the Federal Communications Commission, AAF purchased billboards and ran newspaper and digital ads opposing her nomination. AAF highlighted the Fraternal Order of Police’s opposition to Sohn, which noted her statements indicating “serious animus towards law enforcement officers.” Sohn withdrew her nomination following the scrutiny.
AAF also warned that Saule Omarova, then a nominee for comptroller of the currency, had apparently joined a self-declared Marxist group on Facebook in 2019. Biden also withdrew her nomination.
“Whether it is Gigi Sohn at the FCC, David Chipman at the ATF, Saule Omarova as Biden’s bank czar, there are numerous people who have been exposed because of AAF’s work,” Jones told The Daily Signal. “Apparently, the administration has decided they want to stop that by weaponizing the IRS against us.”
In 2010, conservative groups reported waiting longer than usual to receive verification for tax-exempt status from the IRS. Groups claimed the IRS had targeted them for their political and ideological stances, but the Obama administration denied any ideological discrimination. In October 2017, the Department of Justice settled two cases in the IRS targeting scandal. In a class-action lawsuit involving 428 conservative plaintiffs, the IRS agreed to pay $3.5 million.
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