A traditional-marriage organization said Wednesday that it was a victim of political abuse by the Internal Revenue Service and called for a congressional investigation into the matter.
The IRS "not only harassed conservative groups, it went so far as to release confidential and sensitive information to their liberal opponents in a presidential election year," said Brian Brown, president of the nonprofit National Organization for Marriage (NOM).
"Only the unique powers of Congress to subpoena, question and investigate will help us expose the truth" about how the pro-gay Human Rights Campaign (HRC) came into possession of a nonpublic tax document that NOM had to file with the IRS, said Mr. Brown.
On March 30, 2012, HRC posted online the Schedule B of NOM's 2008 Form 990. All nonprofits must file Form 990s, and part of it is public. But the Schedule B in a Form 990 is confidential because it contains identifying information about donors and their donations.
HRC used the leaked NOM form to denounce Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for making a $10,000 donation to NOM to support California's Proposition 8, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
The donation was made through a political action committee and had not been reported elsewhere, HRC and other Romney critics said.
HRC President Joe Solmonese had been recently named national co-chairman of the campaign to re-elect President Obama, NOM officials noted.
The Huffington Post, which also posted NOM's private tax information March 30, 2012, said it received the document from HRC and that HRC got it "via a whistleblower."
NOM officials say they can prove that an IRS employee or employees leaked NOM's private tax document — a criminal offense.
Publishing or printing such purloined material is also punishable by fines or imprisonment, John Eastman, chairman of NOM, said Wednesday.
NOM's efforts to get the IRS to investigate have not gone far, Mr. Eastman said.
In 2012, NOM received word from the IRS that the case was "concluded," with no further information given, he said. Also, the latest of three Freedom of Information Act requests received a "nonresponse" about not being able to disclose information about anyone in a criminal investigation.
"It's just Orwellian," said Mr. Eastman.
A request for comment from the IRS inspector general's office was not immediately available.
In May 2012, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, wrote to then-IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman, asking his "immediate attention" to the NOM case.
On Wednesday, Mr. Hatch, who is the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, asked for resignations of IRS officials in light of evidence that the IRS was deliberately delaying tax-exempt status to conservative political and other groups.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, has said he will hold hearings on the scandal on May 21.
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