A conservative group is calling on the Senate ethics committee to examine nine top Democrats, accusing them of pushing the IRS to investigate specific groups.
The Center for Competitive Politics announced their complaint Tuesday, in which they charge that lawmakers tried to get the tax agency to probe outside conservative groups.
The group wants the ethics panel to look at Sens. Dick DurbinDick Durbin McConnell: I’m very sympathetic to 'Dreamers' Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Dem senators call for independent Flynn probe MORE (Ill.), Chuck SchumerCharles SchumerOvernight Cybersecurity: Trump defends Flynn, blasts leaks | Yahoo fears further breach Overnight Finance: Trump's Labor pick withdraws | Ryan tries to save tax plan | Trump pushes tax reform with retailers Democrats declare victory after Puzder bows out MORE (N.Y.), Carl LevinCarl LevinSilencing of Warren another example of hyperpartisan Senate GOP going nuclear over Gorsuch might destroy filibuster forever Obama to preserve torture report in presidential papers MORE (Mich.), Michael BennetMichael BennetSenate advances Trump's Commerce pick Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Senators to Trump: We support additional Iran sanctions MORE (Colo.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehousePruitt confirmation sets stage for Trump EPA assault Senate Dems ask DHS inspector general for probe of Trump’s business arrangement Senate confirms Pruitt to lead EPA MORE (R.I.), Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenMattis on rise in Trump administration Scott Brown being considered for ambassador to New Zealand: report Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick MORE (N.H.), Al FrankenAl FrankenPruitt confirmation sets stage for Trump EPA assault AT&T, Time Warner defend deal The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Minn.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySenate advances Trump's Commerce pick Senate confirms Pruitt to lead EPA Democrats want Pruitt vote delayed over emails MORE (Ore.), and Tom UdallTom UdallSenate Dems ask DHS inspector general for probe of Trump’s business arrangement Dem senators call for independent Flynn probe Warren, Dems accuse Trump of ethics violations MORE (N.M.).
In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, many of those lawmakers openly complained about the influx of groups supposedly focused on social welfare that also engaged heavily in political activity. For example, Levin and other lawmakers sent letters to the IRS asking them to take a close look at such 501(c)(4) organizations, many of them conservative.
Of course, the lawmakers were not shy about making their concerns known. In their complaint, the center cites a press release sent out by Durbin in which he said he wanted the IRS to look into spending by Crossroads GPS, the group founded by Karl Rove.
But the group argues that such calls for IRS investigations amounted to pressure tactics that may have led to audits of conservative groups, or could be seen as campaign activity conducted using official Senate resources. It also argues that their actions ”reflect discreditably upon the U.S Senate.”
The ethics push comes one day after Tea Party Patriots filed their own ethics complaint against Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidHopes rise for law to expand access to experimental drugs If Gorsuch pick leads to 'crisis,' Dems should look in mirror first Senate confirms Mulvaney to be Trump’s budget chief MORE (D-Nev.). The group argued that Reid’s frequent criticisms of billionaire GOP donors Charles and Davic Koch amounted to “unlawfully and unethically targeting private citizens.”
A Reid spokesman dismissed that complaint as a publicity stunt from a group that has received Koch funds.
The group also called for an ethics investigation into Whitehouse for pushing the IRS to look at conservative groups.