Grover Norquist asks IRS to explain Breitbart audit

The anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist is questioning why the Internal Revenue Service has reportedly audited the conservative news outlet Breitbart News Network.

“It defies reason to think that an agency as politicized as the IRS began this inquiry with anything other than the worst of intentions. I urge you to stop the political harassment of President Obama’s enemies using the IRS as soon as possible,” Norquist said in a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on Friday.

Breitbart News this week said the IRS had audited the company’s financial information from 2012 in what it claims is a politically motivated investigation of a conservative news organization.

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Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, echoed questions Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) posed to the IRS in a separate letter this week. 

Both Cruz and Norquist asked the IRS commissioner to say who decided to audit Breitbart and how many news organizations have been audited under the Obama administration.

The IRS regularly audits a number of businesses each year. In a statement the agency released earlier this week, it said federal privacy laws prevent it from commenting on specific taxpayer situations.

“The IRS stresses that audits are based on the information related to tax returns and the underlying tax law — nothing else. Audits are handled by career, non-partisan civil servants, and the IRS has safeguards in place to protect the exam process.”

On its website, the IRS says audits ensure that tax and financial information is being reported correctly, according to tax laws.

This comes in the wake of the IRS scandal in which the agency targeted conservative groups in 2012. An IRS inspector general report later found some liberal groups were also subjected to extra scrutiny. Former Commissioner Lois Lerner, who was at the center of the controversy, resigned last year.