Politics & Policy

IRS Employees Disproportionately Donate to Obama

Statistics reveal an imbalance in a nominally nonpartisan agency.

President Barack Obama received more than twice as much in campaign donations from IRS employees in 2012 as did his opponent, Mitt Romney, records show.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, which maintains an online database of political contributions, individuals listing their employer as “IRS” or “Internal Revenue Service” donated a total of $48,827 to Obama in 2012 and gave just $20,361 to Romney. That disparity is mild compared with that of 2008, when IRS employees donated $59,959 to Obama, and just $1,950 to his challenger John McCain.

Slightly over 100 IRS employees donated to Obama in 2012, while only 25 contributed to Romney, according to the database, and most contributed less than $1,000. At least one of the IRS employees who donated to Obama in 2012 — Kim Kitchens — appears to have worked in the agency’s Exempt Organizations Rulings and Agreements office in Cincinnati, Ohio, as of October 2012, according to IRS documents.

The IRS is under fire this week after a report by the Treasury Department’s inspector general found that agency employees engaged in “inappropriate targeting” of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. Groups had their applications significantly delayed, for years in some cases, and were asked to answer dozens of invasive questions. USA Today reported that even as tea-party groups had their applications delayed for more than two years, similar liberal organizations were swiftly approved for tax-exempt status.

Although IRS officials initially said the wrongdoing was limited to a few “front-line people” in the Cincinnati office, subsequent reports reveal that IRS offices in California and Washington, D.C., were also involved. Senior officials, including acting commissioner Steven Miller, were aware of the targeting as early as May 2012. A number of Republican lawmakers have called on Miller to resign; he is sure to face contentious questioning on Friday when he testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee.

With only two politically appointed employees, the IRS is nominally one of the least partisan bodies in the federal government. In statement released last week, the IRS acknowledged that “mistakes were made” but denied that “any political or partisan rationale” was involved.

President Obama on Tuesday called the behavior revealed in the Treasury inspector general’s report “intolerable and inexcusable” and promised to “hold those responsible for these failures accountable.” However, White House press secretary Jay Carney declined to say Wednesday whether any IRS employees should be fired. “I’m not going to get into specifics about what outcomes should happen here,” he told reporters.

— Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online.

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...


The Latest