Treasury pushes back against 'misleading' statements on IRS

The Treasury Department pushed back Tuesday against what it called “numerous misleading and public statements” from Republicans about proposed new rules for tax-exempt groups.

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A top Treasury official, in a letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), stressed that the regulations for 501(c)(4) groups would not restrict any political speech, tip the scales toward one political party or keep a political group from gaining tax-exempt status.

The rules also would not place more restrictions on 501(c)(4)s than other groups with tax-exemptions, added Alastair Fitzpayne, Treasury’s assistant secretary for legislative affairs.

"We share your interest in this important issue, and we are committed to ensuring that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) treats all applicants seeking tax-exempt status in a fair, even-handed and transparent manner," Fitzpayne wrote to Camp.

Camp, who has a bill on the House floor this week that would delay the proposed regulations for a year, is just one of a string of top GOP lawmakers who have blasted the rules. Those Republicans have said, among other things, that the rules would merely codify the targeting that the IRS admitted last year, and that the rules don’t apply to unions.