IG report: IRS improperly asked groups for positions on issues, whether directors were going to run for office

The Internal Revenue Service improperly requested additional information from nonprofit groups about who their donors were, what the groups’ positions were on specific issues and whether or not their officers had run or were planning to run for public office, according to a report released Tuesday by the Treasury Inspector General.

“The Determinations Unit sent requests for information that we later (in whole or in part) determined to be unnecessary for 98 (58 percent) of 170 organizations that received additional information request letters,” according to the report.

The IRS requested: “The names of the donors, contributors, and grantors. If the donor, contributor, or grantor has run or will run for a public office, identify the office. If not, please confirm by answering this question ‘No,'” according to the report.

The IG report lists seven questions the IRS asked the groups that have been “identified as unnecessary.”

“Requests the names of donors” was the first question identified as “unnecessary.”

“Requests a list of all issues that are important to the organization and asks that the organization indicate its position regarding such issues” was also identified as “unnecessary.”

“Asks whether the officer, director, etc., has run or will run for public office” was also deemed “unnecessary.”

The IRS’s improper questioning of approximately 58 percent of the organizations that received additional information request letters delayed work on the groups’ applications by nearly 13 months. The delays “could result in potential donors and grantors being reluctant to provide donations or grants to organizations applying for I.R.C. ยง 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status,” according to the report.

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