Shaheen Scrutinized for IRS Letters

Jeanne Shaheen / AP

Amid the unfolding Internal Revenue Service scandal, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.) is facing renewed criticism for a letter she sent to the IRS in 2012, Fosters reports.

The IRS revealed last week that it had targeted conservative groups, singling out their applications for tax-exempt status for further review and, in some cases, asking inappropriate and unnecessary questions of those applicants.

Shaheen and other senators sent a letter to the IRS in February 2012 asking it to closely monitory 501(c)(4)s, especially organizations which were "abusing the tax code" and engaging in political campaigning:

In their letter, Shaheen and the other senators questioned whether some groups with overtly political aims were masquerading as social welfare organizations in order to skirt federal tax laws. The senators urged the IRS to prevent organizations "focused on federal election activities" from "abusing the tax code."

The same group sent a second letter to former IRS commissioner Douglas H. Shulman in March 2012. They called for the IRS to implement a strict cap on the amount of political spending permissible for tax-exempt groups. The senators also called for the IRS to require organizations to document the exact percentage of their undertakings dedicated to "social welfare." 

Shaheen criticized the IRS this week and called for a full audit by an inspector general.

New Hampshire Republicans are criticizing what they see as a hypocritical stance, according to Fosters:

"There are very serious questions about whether Shaheen’s partisan effort to pressure the IRS to increase investigations of 501(c)(4) organizations contributed to the outrageous practices that took place at the agency," said [New Hampshire GOP] executive director Matthew Slater.