It's not just members of Congress who are outraged.
"The American people should be outraged," say politicians. "And they are."
Outraged that the IRS would require Tea Party groups to answer intrusive questions just to get a 501(c)(4) tax exemption.
Even the NORMAL questions on the form are pretty intrusive. Yet, conservative and liberal groups alike voluntarily seek this hard-to-define 501(c)(4) status.
Why wouldn't they just become 501(c)(3)'s? Straightforward non-profit charities?
I sit on the boards of two 501(c)(3)'s. Now it's true, as charities, they can't be "political." But - they can support legislation; they can hold public forums; they can even try to persuade politicians.
So as a 501(c)(3), a Tea Party group could lobby against new taxes, hold anti-tax forums, and print flyers warning taxpayers they're getting ripped off.
But these groups don't just want to lobby and educate. They want to funnel money to political campaigns; stuff your mailbox with political flyers; make robocalls; put up 30 second TV ads - and do it without having to pay the usual taxes, AND without disclosing where the money comes from!
That's why they go for the more complicated 501(c)(4) exemption: So they can raise unlimited money - to make it look like politicians are getting their support from "Social Welfare" organizations.
And now because of all the outrage, I'm guessing a chastened IRS is going to leave these organizations alone, something that politicians on both sides won't mind one bit!