Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse Urges IRS to Target Turning Point USA’s Tax-Exempt Status

January 19th, 2021 4:01 PM

It looks as if the government is returning to its old habits of trying to exploit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to attack conservative nonprofits.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) is urging IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig “to review the tax-exempt status of Turning Point USA [TPUSA],” according to CNBC. The reason for this push was asinine: “Whitehouse said [in a letter that] the nonprofit student group should have its tax-exempt status reviewed because he believes they broke Covid regulations when it reportedly hosted two large events in Florida.” Conservative activist Charlie Kirk is president of the group. Kirk is also a member on the board of advisors for the MRC’s Free Speech America project. 

Whitehouse’s push for the IRS to zero in on TPUSA sounds eerily similar to that “scandal that erupted in 2013 when the IRS was found to be targeting conservative organizations for harassment.”

Whitehouse bellyached that Turning Point USA’s events were “super-spreader” events:

According to press reports and social media posts, many participants gathered and mingled indoors without wearing masks, in violation of Palm Beach County’s COVID-19 regulations … In holding these ‘superspreader’ events, Turning Point USA knowingly exposed hundreds of young people and staff working at the events to serious risk of infection.

Whitehouse continued, “I urge the IRS to review whether it should revoke Turning Point USA’s tax-exempt status.” [Emphasis added.]

CNBC praised Whitehouse as the “the latest member of the Senate Finance Committee to recently call on the IRS to investigate conservative dark money organizations.” [Emphasis added.] 

Unsurprisingly, the liberal outlet ignored mentioning Whitehouse’s own ties to left-wing dark money. 

The Capital Research Center (CRC) reported in November 2020 that Whitehouse himself “fundraises through ActBlue, the Left’s favorite ‘dark money’ machine.” CRC said that ActBlue’s “501(c)(3) and (c)(4) wings report their pass-through grants as a single, unidentifiable lump, so they don’t have to disclose which groups they passed money to or how much each group received.”

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board published an editorial in September headlined “Sheldon Whitehouse Goes Dark.” Whitehouse was invited to testify before a House Judiciary subcommittee to rail against right-wing “grimy swamps of dark money influence” on the courts, The Journal noted. He reportedly did this while refusing to answer questions about his own reported ties to Arabella Advisors. Arabella Advisors is a massive left-wing for-profit operation that oversees leftist nonprofit groups that have also tried to exert considerable influence on the courts. As the editorial concluded: 

Mr. Whitehouse’s silence about his own ties to dark-money networks shows his goal isn’t to clean up politics. He wants to silence those who disagree with him.

On that note, CNBC also ignored how Whitehouse had written an opinion piece for The Washington Post in 2015 actually arguing for RICO lawsuits to be brought against companies who disagreed with him on climate change.

Reporting any of this would have undercut CNBC’s narrative in which it attempted to paint Whitehouse as a crusader against “conservative dark money.”

Conservatives are under attack.  Contact CNBC at 201-735-2622 and demand it report Whitehouse’s hypocrisy on “dark money” and defend nonprofits against IRS overreach.