A top Senate Democrat calls for IRS probe of dark-money groups that helped organize rally before riot
- Sen. Ron Wyden of the Senate Finance Committee wants the IRS to probe groups that were involved with organizing a rally that led to the riot on Capitol Hill.
- Wyden, in a letter on Friday to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, claimed that some of these groups "may have been involved in inciting or facilitating these illegal acts."
- With Democrats gaining control of the Senate this month, Wyden will likely become chairman of the committee, giving him and his party more power over such an investigation.
Sen. Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, called on the IRS on Friday to investigate groups that helped organize a rally that led to the deadly riot at the Capitol.
As CNBC reported, several nonprofit organizations were involved with organizing the Jan. 6 rally, led by President Donald Trump, in front of the White House. Trump encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol as Congress was set to confirm Joe Biden's election as president. Hundreds of people invaded the Capitol, and at least five people died, including a police officer.
Several of these organizations are known as dark-money groups because they do not publicly disclose their donors.
In a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, Wyden said some of these groups "may have been involved in inciting or facilitating these illegal acts." In light of that, the Oregon Democrat called for Rettig and the IRS to launch an investigation into the role they played in what took place on Capitol Hill.
He warned that such groups could lose their tax-exempt status if they engaged in illegal activity.
"I urge the IRS, in coordination with other law enforcement agencies to investigate the extent to which tax exempt organizations were involved in any part of the Capitol insurrection or actions leading up to that event, and to the greatest extent of the law, revoke the exempt status of those organizations that played a role in inciting or committing violence and other illegal acts," Wyden said.
He called on the IRS to provide the committee a report on their findings.
With Democrats set to gain control of the Senate this month, Wyden will likely become chairman of the finance committee, giving him and his party more power over such an investigation.
The letter cites reporting by CNBC, which highlights groups that pushed claims of voter fraud in the buildup to last week's rally. While there have been a few isolated instances of voter fraud, federal and state officials have said no widespread voter fraud occurred, contrary to Trump's claims.
"To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election," former U.S. Attorney General William Barr said before he resigned in December.
While Wyden's letter does not mention any specific organization, several conservative groups were involved in organizing the rally.
Pro-Trump student group Turning Point USA's affiliated 501(c)(4) nonprofit group, Turning Point Action, bused supporters to the rally. A Turning Point Action spokesperson previously told CNBC that the students got back on their buses after the rally, did not take part in the march, and condemned the violence on Capitol Hill.
The group that largely organized the Jan. 6 rally is Women for America First, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit. Its Facebook page shows it was calling on supporters to be part of what it described as a "caravan" to Washington for the event. A recent post said to meet at an address in Virginia on Jan. 5, the day before the rally, to "join the caravan to D.C."
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