The House Ways and Means Committee says that, despite the IRS’s promises to destroy the donor lists it demanded from tea-party and other conservative groups, it has discovered those lists in the case files it has reviewed in the course of its investigation into the targeting scandal. A Ways and Means Committee source tellsNational Review Online that, of the 27 groups asked for a list of donors, the committee identified 24 as conservative. Former acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller told the committee in May that a majority of the groups from whom donor lists were requested were not tea-party groups; a commitee spokeswoman surmised that Miller was using a narrow definition of “tea party” that did not apply more broadly to conservative groups.
Requests for donor lists, which applicants for 501(c)(4) status are not required to disclose, raised concern because if a group’s application for tax exemption is approved, the application, including the donor list, becomes public. Groups have raised concerns that making their donors public will deter potential donors. The IRS previously told the committee that it would destroy the lists, which Miller conceded were “not necessary.”
“When we saw that it happened, we asked that, you know, if they hadn’t sent them in, we reached out and said, don’t send them in,” Miller told the committee in May. ”If they had sent them in we said, you know, we’re not gonna use these, and we didn’t. You will not find them used in any of these cases.”