Per ArsTechnica, Representative Steve Stockman (R-TX) has sent a formal letter to the National Security Agency asking it to hand over "all its metadata" on the e-mail accounts of a former division director at the Internal Revenue Service. "Your prompt cooperation in this matter will be greatly appreciated and will help establish how IRS and other personnel violated rights protected by the First Amendment," Stockman wrote on Friday. The request came hours after the IRS told a congressional committee that it had "lost" all of the former IRS Exempt Organizations division director's e-mails between January 2009 and April 2011.
Hugh Pickens adds:
The IRS blames a "computer glitch" for erasing the emails which could have implicated Agency employees in illegal activity. "The metadata will establish who Lerner contacted and when, which helps investigators determine the extent of illegal activity by the IRS," says Stockman.
Hugh Pickens also notes that this is a case where one government agency accused of misconduct is asked to "assist" another government agency accused of misconduct.
Current interpretation allows lobbying for social issues to be considered as "social welfare." I think it's bullshit, but it's legal bullshit. They're allowed to engage in political activity as long as the majority of their activity is "social welfare," but the interpretation of lobbying as "social welfare" causes part of the issue.
Yes, they are tax exempt, but that's not the reason the status is so hotly contested. Much more important is the ability to screen their donors, because it means that someone can pour money into a 501(c)(4) to support an issue without anyone being able to tell where the cash came from.