The Senate Finance Committee has released its long-awaited report on the Internal Revenue Service’s treatment of political groups applying for tax-exempt status, and it includes a tantalizing reference to Bristol Palin, the daughter of former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
According to USA Today, one of the emails from Lois Lerner, the former director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations unit, asked a subordinate about whether the IRS should open an audit of a teen pregnancy prevention group known as Candie’s Foundation, because it had paid Bristol Palin a fee of $332,500 to be a celebrity spokesperson. Palin made headlines in 2008 when her teenage pregnancy was announced in the midst of her mother’s unsuccessful run for the vice presidency.
Lerner was reportedly concerned the nonprofit might have violated rules barring charities from privately benefiting individuals. She emailed her staff in 2011 to ask, “Thoughts on the Bristol Palin issue? I’m asking because I don’t know whether to send to Exam as a referral.”
However, USA Today noted that the report does not say whether the IRS’s Exam unit ever opened an audit into either the charity or Ms. Palin. So far, there has been no statement from the Palins on that matter.