In February 2012, seven Democratic senators wrote a letter to the Internal Revenue Service commissioner requesting an investigation of “social welfare” organizations.
“We write to inquire if the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) is investigating or intends to investigate whether groups designated as “social welfare” organizations, and thus receiving tax and other advantages under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(4), are improperly engaged in a substantial or even a predominant amount of campaign activity,” the letter read.
The letter was signed by Sen. Chuck Schumer D-N.Y., together with Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Sheldon Whitehouse. D-R.I., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Tom Udall D-N.M.
To promote his role in the letter, Bennett used Karl Rove as an example for constituents in a Feb. 16 news release.
“[L]ong-time partisan operative Karl Rove is a senior official behind a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” charity, yet it’s common knowledge that his organization exists to elect and defeat specific political candidates,” the news release read. “Elections operations such as Mr. Rove’s should not be allowed to masquerade as charities to take advantage of their tax exempt status and hide their donors from the public. It’s the IRS’s job to enforce the tax code and make sure that ‘social welfare’ organizations are what they say they are.”