GOP chairman wants documents on tax-exempt rule change

House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said Friday he wants all federal documents related to new proposed rules governing so-called “dark money” groups.

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Camp wrote to both Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and the new IRS commissioner, John Koskinen, saying that the IRS targeting controversy made it all the more important for the process for implementing new 501(c)(4) regulations to be transparent.

“Before having all the facts in hand, Treasury rushed forward with new rules that seriously limit groups’ ability to engage in public debate,” Camp said in a statement. “This is pure politics and the new IRS commissioner should do the right thing and put a stop to it.”

Camp already this month introduced legislation to delay the new rules that Treasury and the IRS released last November for a year. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) – a longtime critic of campaign reform efforts – has also blasted the proposed regulations in recent days.

Camp’s request and McConnell’s comments also come as Republicans have become increasingly frustrated by the Obama administration’s investigation into the IRS targeting. Members of Camp's committee will have a chance to question Koskinen on Wednesday, when the new commissioner is scheduled to testify before a Ways and Means subcommittee.

The new proposal from Treasury and the IRS would make clear that any activity by 501(c)(4) groups for or against political candidates does not count as social welfare work.

The Obama administration and campaign finance reform groups say the rules could bring more clarity to tax-exempt rules that are currently too hazy. Under current law, 501(c)(4) groups are to exclusively work on social welfare issues, but the rules on the books say social welfare should be their primary purpose.

But Republicans were quick to criticize the proposed rules when they were released, partly because they came before inquiries into the IRS’s singling out of Tea Party groups came to a close. The IRS apologized last May for wrongly scrutinizing some conservative groups.

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