GOP senators: We want gift tax details

501(c)(4)s have become a popular way for some politically minded groups to organize. The groups are not required to publicly name their donors, but most of their work cannot be classified as political. 

The IRS has indicated that its move was made by “career civil servants,” that the decision-making process happened solely within the agency and that the new examinations were not part of a broader look at 501(c)(4)s. But the six GOP senators — who include Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchFinance to hold hearing on ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea Week ahead in finance: Clock ticking for GOP on tax reform MORE of Utah, the Finance panel’s ranking member — still appear skeptical. 

“We would expect that decisions regarding particular enforcement actions would be made by career civil servants,” wrote the senators, who also sounded concerned about the possible retroactive enforcement of the gift tax. “The more pressing question, not answered to date, is whether political appointees inside or outside the IRS were involved in any way in the decision to prioritize this category of cases.”

The Finance senators asked for the names of IRS officials who worked on the issue, as well as any correspondence between the agency and the White House and Treasury Department. They also are seeking, by the end of the month, any examination of First Amendment implications of enforcing the gift tax on 501(c)(4)s by the IRS . 

In addition to Hatch, the GOP letter was signed by Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the chamber’s No. 2 Republican; Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsNo. 2 Senate Republican backs McConnell in Trump fight Overnight Healthcare: McConnell warns Senate not to block repeal debate | Insurers knock Cruz proposal | WH tries to discredit CBO | Lawmakers propose .1B NIH funding boost Trump: I’ll be ‘very angry’ if Senate doesn’t pass ObamaCare repeal bill MORE of Kansas; John CornynJohn CornynNew GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Week ahead: Senators near deal to stabilize ObamaCare markets GOP eying 'blue slip' break to help Trump fill the courts MORE of Texas, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee; John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneAviation panel recommends Trump roll back safety rules Overnight Regulation: House moves to block methane rule | Senators wrestle with allowing driverless trucks | EPA delays toxic waste rule Overnight Tech: Senate looks at self-driving trucks | Facebook to keep ads off fake news | House panel calls Equifax CEO to testify MORE of South Dakota; and Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrLawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program Facebook under fire over Russian ads in election 5 senators call for US to shutter embassy in Havana MORE of North Carolina, the panel’s newest member.