According to the Daily Caller, “Jeanne Shaheen was principally involved in a plot with Lois Lerner and President Barack Obama’s political appointee at the IRS to lead a program of harassment against conservative nonprofit groups during the 2012 election.” The “plot” consists of developing IRS regulations that would make life difficult for 501(c)(4) groups.
We have written in some detail about these regulations which, properly viewed, boil down to an attempt to limit conservative speech. Faced with an unprecedented number of public comments, the IRS decided to pull back from proposing such regulations for the time being.
It has long been known that Democratic Senators pushed for the regs. The name most closely associated with this quest has been Chuck Schumer, who no doubt appreciates the publicity. Shaheen was one of five additional Senators who signed a letter to the IRS calling on it to “immediately change the administrative framework for enforcement of the tax code as it applies to groups designated as ‘social welfare’ organizations.”
Correspondence obtained by the Daily Caller shows that William J. Wilkins, who has been described as “The President’s Man at the IRS,” responded to the letter by corresponding with Shaheen. Wilkins stated, in essence, that the IRS would consider making the kinds of changes requested. The IRS did, in fact, then proceed along those lines.
Wilkins concluded by telling Shaheen that he was sending a similar response to the other Senators who signed the letter. Thus, the Daily Caller may overstate things when it describes Shaheen as “the point person” of the group. Nonetheless, it’s clear that she was a leader in the charge to attack 504(c)(4) groups and that Obama’s man at the IRS corresponded directly with her about the matter.
Will this news hurt Shaheen’s chances of defeating Scott Brown? Probably not. For one thing, I doubt there’s enough time to spread the story. On the other hand, there’s even less time for Shaheen to respond.