Conservatives are falling all over themselves to claim they've been harrassed by the IRS. Some outfit named Aleteia claims that a Catholic professor critical of the Obama administration was mysteriously audited.
Franklin Graham, the apple who fell far from the tree, likewise claims the IRS has been persecuting him. (His organization is a 501(c)3, which has stricter requirements than a (501(c)4. Plus, he used organization funds to campaign against marriage equality in North Carolina, so there's more to his story than he's letting on. Just sayin')
This is fall-out from the Citizens United decision. Citizens United led directly to the rise of "super-political action committees, a.k.a. "super-pacs."
When Karl Rove began his super PAC American Crossroads, at first his fundraising was pretty anemic. He then set up Crossroads GPS, under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, which is for “social welfare” organizations, which are supposed to further the general welfare (the provision talks about “civic betterment”). Donations to (c)(4)’s are not tax deductible. The main benefit is that contributors’ names are not public.
The 501(c)4 status is an artful dodge to get around disclosing donors. Donors to these organizations care more about protecting their identity than they do about getting a tax deduction.
Also one wonders: Do the tea party groups know that their promoters are passing themselves off as a "social welfare" organization to the IRS? Are they aware that they're now committed to promoting the "general welfare" leading to "civic betterment"?
Incidentally, poor people who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) are five times more likely to be audited than other people, mostly because conservative Congressmen keep asserting there's "fraud" somewhere in the program, which is what they always say this about programs that don't benefit them.