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Six US Congressmen Seek Probe of HSUS Tax Status

Six Republican members of Congress have written to Inspector General Eric Thorson claiming that the level of lobbying activity conducted by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is incompatible with HSUS’s 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

Previous letters written to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman and Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner have been unproductive.

Three of the Congressmen—Jo Ann Emerson, Sam Graves, and Billy Long—represent constituents in Missouri where a recent ballot initiative established new regulations for dog breeders there. The initiative was supported by more than two million dollars in HSUS contributions to its front group in Missouri.

The Congressmen question whether HSUS attempts to influence legislation constitute a “substantial part” (the IRS test) of HSUS’s activities. Under the IRS code, no group is allowed to maintain tax-exempt status based on its political leanings or power, as taxpayers would be effectively subsidizing a political organization.

For more details, read Glen Wunderlich’s article in the Argus-Press.

Posted May 16, 2011