HSUS Ensnared in IRS Scandal?

130430_HW_LogoThe news in Washington over the past week or so has been dominated by news that the Internal Revenue Service’s tax-exempt entities division improperly targeted conservative-leaning organizations for extra scrutiny. And while the national press asks who knew what and when, a leading animal liberation group might soon find itself wrapped up by the scandal: The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), not to be confused with your local pet shelter.

The Director of the IRS division implicated in using the improper targeting, Lois Lerner, is (or at least was) an “active member” of HSUS. In her official capacity, could Lerner have been in position to run interference for HSUS, the nation’s richest anti-agriculture animal liberation group?

That’s a serious charge, but the question is being raised in the media today. In 2011, six U.S. Representatives concerned that HSUS was using its tax status for improper political activities wrote a letter to the IRS Inspector General asking for a thorough investigation of HSUS’s political spending to determine if it fell within allowable levels under federal tax law. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, a Missouri Republican, wrote a letter to Lerner the year before asking that HSUS’s political spending be scrutinized.

Lerner took no public action. In response, Rep. Luetkemeyer wrote another letter to the Treasury Secretary and the Inspector General for Tax Administration on Friday renewing his call for an investigation of HSUS, in light of Lerner’s connections to the group and her rapidly diminishing credibility. Fox News’s Fox and Friends covered the issue this morning (in a clip you can see below), and we only expect the volume of questions on this matter to grow.