PETA Wants IRS Probe to Include Group’s Audits Under Bush Administrations

PETA Wants IRS Probe to Include Group’s Audits Under Bush Administrations

For Immediate Release:
May 16, 2013

Shakira Croce 202-483-7382

PETA may not have “tea party” or “patriot” in its name, but the group was subject to politically motivated misconduct by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In a letter sent today to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, PETA asks that the recently announced criminal probe into the IRS’ activity be expanded to include an analysis of the three audits (in 1990 to 1992, 2003 to 2005, and 2009) that targeted PETA’s tax-exempt status. IRS agents have admitted that they were the result of pressure from animal-abusing industries that PETA opposes, such as the meat and dairy industries, among others.

PETA’s letter to the U.S. Department of the Treasury follows and is available here



May 16, 2013


Eric M. Thorson
Inspector General
U.S. Department of the Treasury
J. Russell George
Inspector General for Tax Administration
U.S. Department of the Treasury


Re: Improper Politically Motivated IRS Audits of PETA


Dear Messrs. Thorson and George:

I serve as general counsel to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. (PETA), the 501(c)(3) animal-protection charity, and I am writing to request that you please expand your current inquiry into reported Internal Revenue Service misconduct to include a detailed analysis of the three baseless audits that targeted PETA’s tax-exempt status in 1990 to 1992 under the George H.W. Bush administration, in 2003 to 2005 under the George W. Bush administration, and again in 2009. I can assure you that targeted misconduct by the IRS is neither new nor limited to conservative causes.

PETA’s harassment by the IRS includes the 20-month audit in 2003 to 2005 and another in 2009, both of which resulted from what the IRS agents admitted—and we have verified from Freedom of Information Act materials—were politically motivated attacks and pressure by members of Congress who were doing the bidding of the meat, dairy, experimentation, tobacco, and other industries whose animal-abusing practices PETA opposes. PETA came through all three audits with a clean bill of health but endured an unconscionable diversion of charity resources to fend off these attacks on its tax-exempt status, which were reminiscent of the Nixon years and tactics more commonly attributed to totalitarian regimes.

May I please hear from you as a matter of urgency that these audits will be included in a truly thorough examination of IRS tactics?

Very truly yours,

Jeffrey S. Kerr
General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind