New IRS process for recommending nonprofit audits draws critiques

Relatively inexperienced IRS managers could take the reins of gatekeeping panels with significant sway over dark money groups under the terms of a memo sent to agency managers last week and obtained by OpenSecrets Blog. The panels determine whether non-profits involved in political activity are called out for audits. Effective July 17, a team of three IRS employees will make up Political Activities Referral Committees (PARCs), which are tasked with “[recommending] referrals for audit in an impartial and unbiased manner,” according to the memo. To refer an audit takes a majority vote of the three committee members. Those three will be selected from a pool of manager-level employees (civil service grade GS-14 equivalents) at random. That means the PARCs will likely consist of workers with little experience administering exempt organizations, said Marcus Owens, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer and former head of the IRS Exempt Organizations division. “I analogize it as, an […] Read More

Harvard’s billionaire benefactor also a GOP sugar daddy

Founded in 1636, Harvard University is generally considered to be the oldest university in the United States. With a $36.4 billion endowment, it is generally considered to be the richest university in the United States as well. And Harvard just got richer, with some help from a big Republican donor. Yesterday, Harvard College President Drew Faust announced that hedge fund manager John A. Paulson, a Harvard Business School alum, had pledged to donate $400 million — the largest gift in Harvard history – to the university’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). The gift seemed to have naming rights attached: The school will now be called the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science. Paulson is no amateur when it comes to big donations — he’s given millions to political causes over the years. In 2012, he personally helped fund the Republican convention with a […] Read More