Questioning IRS Practices
By now, I’m sure many of you have heard about the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups – flagging their applications for tax-exempt status and subjecting these groups to excessive and overly burdensome scrutiny. This is an unacceptable and frankly a frightening practice that puts free speech in jeopardy.
The IRS’s intrusive inquiries hit far too close to home, as the North East Tarrant Tea Party was subjected to the IRS’s intrusive questioning. According to the organization’s website, the IRS demanded they submit:
- A copy of every tweet made from their Twitter account and every Facebook post – which would require hundreds of pages of documentation;
- The personal resumes of all their Board Members;
- Copies of every flier they’ve made as well as every flier guest speakers have handed out;
- A list of all the items they’ve ever purchased, from what business, at what price, and how much those items were sold for; and
- The name of every volunteer and what they’ve done for the organization, among other things.
Organizations in other parts of the country have been asked to submit a list of the books they’ve recommended to members; information on whether family members planned to run for public office; the organization’s planned activities; whether an organization would use an officer’s personal residence for its business and if they do, a copy of their lease or financing agreements; donor lists; and the list goes on.
The IRS’s systematic abuse cannot be fixed with a handful of resignations or even a series of lawsuits. This is an agency that has grown too big, too powerful and too invasive – and in light of recent events, too abusive of hardworking taxpayers. While it is critical Congress makes our tax code less complicated, we also need to make sure it is not subject to the whims and political ambitions of IRS officers. We must make sure the IRS follows its mission: to provide top quality service in tax collection and unbiased enforcement of the tax code.
I support the efforts of Congressman Darrell Issa and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. They have been working on this issue for about two years now and have shown they are committed to finding out who is responsible and bringing them to justice.
I am also glad to see House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s examination of the IRS and I wanted you to know about a website the Committee has set up to collect information from those that have been targeted. If you’ve been impacted, please take the time to submit your story here: waysandmeans.house.gov/irsinvestigation
I will continue to monitor this issue very closely and keep you updated as more information becomes available. In the meantime, please continue to reach out to me with any questions or concerns. This very issue was brought to the forefront of the national debate because activists were vocal, brought it to the attention of Congress and pushed for the administration to respond.
Member of Congress