IRS Harassed Non-Profits Through Their Donor Lists

We heard loud and clear that Internal Revenue Service employees targeted conservatives. The IRS used conservative non-profit donor lists to target people for audits according to documents that Judicial Watch obtained from FOI requests. The Judicial Watch investigations were part of a lawsuit against the IRS.

The records received from those Freedom of Information requests indicate the primary IRS target was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That organization received what Judicial Watch called “high scrutiny.”

IRS Audited Conservative Donors

Judicial Watch president, Tom Fitton, said the IRS did not willingly give up the information. “These documents that we had to force out of the IRS prove that the agency used donor lists to audit supporters of organizations engaged in First Amendment-protected lawful political speech.”

He continued, “And the snarky comments about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the obsession with Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS show that the IRS was targeting critics of the Obama administration. President Obama may want to continue to lie about his IRS scandal. These documents tell the truth, his IRS hated conservatives and was willing to illegally tax and audit citizens to shut down opposition to Barack Obama’s policies and reelection.”

Even though Judicial Watch was still prosecuting a lawsuit against the IRS, the agency continued to attack conservatives. Apparently five members of one (unnamed) organization were audited in February 2011. Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS was also one of the targets, internal IRS emails show.

Remember Lois Lerner, the Director of Exempt Organizations group at the IRS? She is now retired, but when she was still at the ITS, she called the audits gift tax reasoning. Judicial Watch doesn’t believe that. They said it “contradicts the IRS statement to the media at the time that audits were not part of a ‘broader effort looking at donations 501(c)(4)s.'”

Audits Finished – Maybe

The IRS ended the practice in August, 2011. The Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller declared the audits of taxpayers “relating to the application of gift taxes” to 501(c)(4) organizations “should be closed.”

“Should be” closed! He didn’t say they were closed, but they “should” be!

Not surprisingly, that weak answer wasn’t enough for Judicial Watch, and investigations are still pending in Congress, so we will have to wait to see the results of more digging.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. He has written more than 3500 national political and foreign affairs columns. His BS in journalism from the University of Oregon, with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing.


Dwight has 30-years in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. His first book, “Redistribution of Common Sense – Selective Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014,” was published in July, 2014. “The Game Changer – America’s Most Stunning Presidential Election in History,” was published in April 2017.


Dwight is a native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.