Washington -- In an effort to strengthen its oversight of non-profit institutions, the Internal Revenue Service will begin comprehensive audits this summer of roughly 400 foundations to determine whether they were in compliance with tax laws.

As part of the sweep, the IRS will look at compensation levels of those who head tax-exempt organizations, particularly those whom the agency feels draw high salary levels as well as reviewing all requisite IRS disclosure forms.

The compliance push follows a hearing on Capitol Hill before the Senate Finance Committee, whose chair, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has pledged to introduce upcoming legislation seeking tighter regulation of tax exempt and charitable groups.

According to published reports, Grassley’s legislation includes heightened penalties for non-compliance and increased responsibilities for board members at those organizations.

"It's obvious from the abuses we see that there's been no check on charities," Grassley was quoted as saying. "Big money, tax free, and no oversight have created a cesspool in too many cases."

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