We’ve reported several times on the fact that Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet pressured the IRS to target his political enemies. See here, here, and here. Bennet may have thought he was off the hook because the IRS lost almost all of Lois Lerner’s emails from 2009 through 2011 that might contain information about the IRS targeting conservative groups in the run up to the 2012 election. Today, those emails have been found on disaster recovery tape. The question is – do those emails contain anything damaging to Bennet?
We know that in February 2012, he wrote a letter to then-IRS Commissioner Shulman asking him, specifically, to examine whether Karl Rove’s American Crossroads was not in compliance with a 501(c)(4) IRS status. Here’s an excerpt from the letter:
“For instance, long-time partisan operative Karl Rove is a senior official behind a 501(c)(4) ‘social welfare’ charity, yet it’s common knowledge that his organization exists to elect and defeat specific political candidates. Elections operations such as Mr. Rove’s should not be allowed to masquerade as charities to take advantage of their tax exempt status and hide their donors from the public. It’s the IRS’s job to enforce the tax code and make sure that ‘social welfare’ organizations are what they say they are.”
To be fair, the letter was sent to the IRS in February 2012 and the trouble started brewing (get it, tea party, oh nevermind) a month earlier, but this is only what we see in public. It will be interesting to know whether anyone from Bennet’s office was in contact with the IRS earlier than that.
This might be one situation that Bennet can’t mumble his way out of.