House passes bill slapping IRS over tea party controversy
Apr 20, 2016 11:30 AM EDT
A bill slapping the IRS for the way it treated the tea party and other conservative groups has been passed in the House.
The proposal was approved Tuesday via voice vote, reported CNBC. It forbids the IRS from targeting people who exercise their First Amendment rights. Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga) was the main sponsor of the bill who said the IRS punished conservatives for their views. It can be recalled that in 2013 Republicans exploded when the IRS apologized for subjecting conservative groups to intense scrutiny when seeking tax-exempt status.
Federal officials, reported ABC News, said sorry for poor management and some top IRS officials were removed, but the Department of Justice declined to file criminal charges. The bill was one among seven introduced by Republicans in the Ways and Means Committee which oversees the IRS. All the bills were passed without any objection from any member of Congress including Democrats.
Speaker John Boehner said the bills were meant to stamp out the culture of arrogance in the agency, according to Real Clear Politics. He said that it is a culture where IRS bureaucrats have willfully targeted citizens for their beliefs, seized assets from law-abiding small business owners and routinely wasted taxpayers money.
"The overwhelming bipartisan passage of these important bills to rein in IRS abuse is a victory for American taxpayers," Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill) said in a statement. "This marks a major step forward in our common quest to strengthen transparency and accountability at the IRS - an agency in desperate need for a complete makeover and cultural change."
Roskam sponsored the first bill to be introduced, on taxpayers bill of rights, that he also filed in the previous congress. It establishes certain rights for taxpayers such as quality service, confidentiality and an appeals process. The IRS has posted the bill of rights online though it has not become law yet. Roskam also introduced legislation certifying gifts to non-profit organizations as not subject to gift tax regardless their value.