Questions process to clear case backlog
6:53 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Schock says New IRS Rules Unclear

In a House Ways and Means Committee Hearing, Representative Aaron Schock (R-IL) said new Internal Revenue Service rules intended to clear a backlog of groups still wanting tax exempt status are unclear.

Schock has been a part of several hearings looking into the IRS's targeting of conservative groups seeking tax exempt status for extra scrutiny.

I'm wondering, whether or not that activity... would be classified under the political campaign activity or under the promoting social welfare category

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Illinois Republican Congressman Aaron Schock.
Credit Congressman Schock's Office

This hearing focused mainly on so called "social welfare groups."  The groups, which enjoy tax exempt status, must primarily focus on social issues and not on political campaigns.

The IRS process to quickly examine applications from these groups would have the groups themselves certify that they only spend 40 percent of their time on political campaigns and the rest on "social welfare issues."

Congressman Schock asked acting IRS commissioner Danny Werfel about how the distinction between the types of activities would apply to a recent email sent by the the group Organizing for Action.

Sent in the wake of the President's recent climate change speech, it called on members and the public to "call out" congressmen who deny climate change.

"It then links to 85 plus members of congress that they would like to be targeted, all of whom are Republican, many of whom are on this committee. Under that circumstance, I'm wondering, whether or not that activity, those hours and that money, would be classified under the political campaign activity or under the promoting social welfare category," Schock said.

The groups would have to certify under penalty of perjury that they met the 40/ 60 percent requirement.

Schock questioned whether the rules are clear enough for the groups to accurately make that determination.