On September 29, 2010, U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus requested that the IRS "survey" major 501(c)(4), (c)(5), and (c)(6) organizations involved in political campaign activity. In his letter to the IRS, Senator Baucus indicated that "recent media reports on various 501(c)(4) organizations engaged in political activity have raised serious questions about whether such organizations are operating in compliance with the Internal Revenue Code."
Under the Internal Revenue Code, political activity by a 501(c)(4), (c)(5), (c)(6) organization must not be the primary purpose of the organization.
Senator Baucus specifically asked the IRS to examine whether these organizations are operated for the organization's intended tax exempt purpose and to ensure that political campaign activity is not the organization's primary activity. The Senator also requested a survey of "major 501(c)(4), (c)(5), and (c)(6) organizations to determine whether they are acting as conduits for major donors advancing their own private interests regarding legislation or political campaigns, or are providing major donors with excess benefits."