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Ok, so by now you're all familiar with this story:

The Internal Revenue Service said Friday that while "mistakes were made" when the agency inappropriately targeted conservative groups for additional reviews between 2010 and 2012, its actions were not motivated by partisan politics.

The agency explained that employees in its Cincinnati, Ohio office faced an increased influx of 501(c)(4) nonprofit applications by organizations during the election period and sought to "centralize" and better the efficiency of the system.

"While centralizing cases for consistency made sense, the way we initially centralized them did not," Dean J Patterson, a spokesman for the IRS, said in a statement obtained by TPM. "Mistakes were made initially, but they were in no way due to any political or partisan rationale. We fixed the situation last year and have made significant progress in moving the centralized cases through our system.

He added: "To date, more than half of the cases have been approved or withdrawn. It is important to recognize that all centralized applications received the same, even-handed treatment, and the majority of cases centralized were not based on a specific name. In addition, new procedures also were implemented last year to ensure that these mistakes won’t be made in the future. The IRS also stresses that our employees - all career civil servants -- will continue to be guided by tax law and not partisan issues." - TPM, 5/10/13

And Karl Rove has been out attacking Senate Democrats on this issue:

The abuse of power may not be confined to the IRS. It might also involve high-ranking Senate Democrats who pressured the IRS to conduct such witch hunts and threatened action if it didn't.

In September 2010, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus wrote to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, requesting that the agency survey major nonprofits involved in political campaign activity for their possible "violation of tax laws." In February 2012, Sens. Charles Schumer, Michael Bennet, Al Franken, Jeff Merkley, Jeanne Shaheen, Tom Udall and Sheldon Whitehouse wrote a similar letter to Mr. Shulman, and promised to introduce legislation if the IRS failed to "prevent abuse of the tax code by political groups." In July 2012 and again in August, Sen. Carl Levin complained to the IRS about its apparent passivity.

Finally, earlier this week the Justice Department admitted it secretly obtained phone records for dozens of Associated Press editors and reporters in order to investigate a leak investigation. Most voters may not be angered by this assault on the First Amendment, but it has turned the press corps on its White House handlers. As National Journal's Ron Fournier said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show on Tuesday, "We were lied to on Benghazi, on the talking points behind Benghazi for months, we were lied to by the IRS for months and now they're sending a clear message to our sources—don't embarrass the administration or we're coming after you."

The controversies are likely to demoralize Democrats who already are depressed by the collapse of Mr. Obama's gun control package, the failure of his political manipulation of the budget sequester, and the quick death of his budget.

The controversies will also further stir up Republicans for the 2014 midterms, adding to their anger about spending, debt and ObamaCare. Even before these firestorms, Republicans were getting keyed up. There was the unexpected opportunity for a Senate pickup when Mr. Baucus announced his retirement last month. And top Democratic choices announced they wouldn't run for open Senate seats in Georgia and South Dakota. - Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal, 5/15/13

Senator Tom Udall (D. NM) today fought back against Rove's accusations and cleared the air:

The New Mexico Republican Party said Wednesday that Sen. Tom Udall was among Democratic senators who wrote a letter to the Internal Revenue Service asking it to “target” conservative groups, but a Udall spokeswoman said the letter was aimed at potential misuse of nonprofit tax status by all political organizations.

Marissa Padilla, Udall’s spokeswoman, said the letter asked the IRS to scrutinize all “social welfare agencies” to ensure they weren’t breaking laws that bar them from “substantial” political activity. It also proposed new IRS rules, such as capping political spending by such groups.

Since 2010, Udall has sponsored or co-sponsored legislation aimed at reforming campaign donor laws, including forcing political action committees to disclose their contributors.

The March 2012 letter signed by Udall — reviewed Wednesday by the Journal — did not request that specific groups, such as conservative-minded tea party groups, be scrutinized.

“We write to ask the Internal Revenue Service to immediately change the administrative framework for enforcement of the tax code as it applies to groups designated as ‘social welfare’ organizations,” said the letter, signed by Udall and six other Democratic senators. “These groups receive tax and other advantages under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code … but some of them also are engaged in a substantial amount of political campaign activity.”

Udall on Monday denounced the IRS for specifically targeting conservative groups. Acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller resigned Wednesday in connection with IRS agents harassing such organizations. - Albuquerque Business Journal, 5/16/13

I want to thank Senator Udall for fighting back and clearing some things up.  Rove wants to make this an issue to help sink Senate Democrats in 2014 midterms and Udall's not going to let that happen.  By the way, received an e-mail from Udall's wife and someone has a big 65 Birthday tomorrow:
Tom's birthday is May 18 -- and you are included in the celebration!

There are those who can wind down at 65, others wish they could but can’t and some — like Tom — eagerly sign up to keep going.

Tom is running for re-election in 2014 so he can continue to represent New Mexico in the United States Senate. And he always wants to hear from his incredible supporters. There’s no better time to send Tom a message, and show that you’re standing with him, than his birthday.

Tom is still the champion for filibuster and rules reform. He is leading the fight on campaign finance reform to undo the damage done by Citizens United.

With his position on the powerful Appropriations Committee, he will be able to create and protect jobs in New Mexico. On the Environment and Public Works Committee he will work to reduce the impact of climate change.

In short, there is lot on his plate and it really helps when he hears from you.

Like last year, I'm inviting you to help us give Tom what he'd really like this birthday -- a grassroots network ready to fight back against the special interests throughout this campaign.

If you’re standing with Tom, today’s a great day to let him know. Sign his card, send your best wishes, and, if you can, make a $65 contribution to wish Tom a happy 65th birthday.

As always, Tom and I appreciate all of your dedicated support.

All the best,

Jill Cooper Udall

You can sign Udall's Birthday card here:

Originally posted to pdc on Thu May 16, 2013 at 11:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party and New Mexico Kossaks.

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