U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, who represents Callaway County and Central Missouri in Congress, has demanded U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder investigate the handling of Luetkemeyer's three-year-old request that the Internal Revenue Service check into potential law violations of the Humane Society of the United States.
Luetkemeyer said his request was blocked for an IRS inquiry into violations of IRS rules by the Humane Society of America relating to its political and lobbying activities.
Luetkemeyer sent recent letters to U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and to Holder calling for an investigation into the handling of Luetkemeyer's three-year-old request for an IRS inquiry into lobbying and political activities of the Humane Society of the United States.
"To be clear," Luetkemeyer said, "the Humane Society of the United States is not affiliated with your local animal shelter. In fact, only 1 percent of the money the organization raises makes its way to animal shelters. Instead, it spends millions of dollars on lobbying, ballot initiatives and other political activities."
Luetkemeyer said this activity by the Humane Society of the United States "is a direct violation of its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status that prohibits such activities."
Luetkemeyer said three years ago he provided more than 3,000 pages of documents exposing the organization's activities and calling for an IRS investigation.
The agency told him, Luetkemeyer said, they could not discuss ongoing investigations and were unable to confirm or deny whether or not any investigation was underway.
"The stonewalling by the IRS of my repeated requests," Luetkemeyer said, "now makes sense in light of the IRS' confession that it was targeting conservative groups seeking tax exempt status while rubber stamping similar requests from liberal groups."
Luetkemeyer said the IRS scandal is the "worst kind of government abuse that I have ever encountered in my more than two decades of public service. I am determined to get to the bottom of things in behalf of those folks who came to me three years ago with these allegations."
"To add insult to injury," Luetkemeyer said, "we have since learned that IRS Tax Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner, who handled my requests and has been implicated in wrongdoing by the IRS on hundreds of requests made by conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, has political ties to the Humane Society of the United States."
After she invoked the 5th Amendment against testifying to Congress because it might incriminate her, Lerner was removed from her duties with the IRS.
The Humane Society of the United States was involved in circulating Proposition B, an initiative petition in Missouri placing restrictions on dog breeders. Missouri voters in 2010 approved the legislation labeled as a measure to "ban puppy mills."
That was the same year Luetkemeyer called for an investigation into the political and lobbying activities of the Humane Society of the United States.