The House Oversight Committee, led by chairman Darrell Issa, is set to investigate how the names and addresses of a conservative nonprofit were leaked to its chief political opponent. Issa and subcommittee chairman Jim Jordan notified Treasury Department inspector general Russell George and Internal Revenue Service acting administrator Danny Werfel in letters dated September 26 that the National Organization for Marriage, the conservative group founded in opposition to the legalization of gay marriage, and a handful of tea-party groups have signed waivers allowing senior stafff on the committee to access their tax return information. “With the authority granted by these waivers,” they write, “we request that you produce all documents and communications referring or relating” to the applications and their review within the agency.
The case of the National Organization for Marriage is one of the most curious to emerge from the scandal that enveloped the IRS in May, when the now-notorious Lois Lerner revealed that the agency had inappropriately targeted tea-party groups applying for tax exemption. NOM received its tax exemption in 2008, but it was four years later, in 2012, that the Human Rights Campaign, its received and published a list of its donors — among them, Mitt Romney’s political-action committee. One month before the document appeared online, HRC’s outgoing president, Joe Solmonese, became one of 35 national co-chairs for the Obama campaign. National Review’s Ian Tuttle wrote about the NOM case here.
It is unclear whether HRC obtained NOM’s donor list from the IRS, but that is what the Oversight Committee intends to find out. “These waivers allow the committee to get information the IRS is currently withholding,” Issa tells National Review Online in a statement. “This information will give us a better sense of why these groups faced delays, what questions they were asked, and what sort of communications were occurring within the IRS in regards to the inappropriate delays and the apparently politically driven leak.”