Congressman Jack Kingston Demands Answers in IRS Scandal

14
May

Congressman Jack Kingston Demands Answers in IRS Scandal

Congressman Jack Kingston Demands Answers in IRS Scandal

Congressman calls for investigation, seeks information on Georgia-based groups targeted

Washington, D.C. – With new revelations coming out about the Internal Revenue Service targeting groups for harassment based on their ideology, Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) is demanding answers and accountability.

In a letter to Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller, Kingston called for a full investigation of the incident as well as an accounting of groups based in the State of Georgia that were targeted.

“The Internal Revenue Service should not be an extension of the Democratic National Committee,” said Kingston. “By targeting groups perceived as opposing the President’s political agenda, those behind this incident sought to trample our constitutional right to free speech. Using the levers of government to intimidate and stifle debate is unacceptable. We need a full review of what took place and for those responsible to be held to account.”

The scandal dates back to March 2010 when IRS agents at a field office in Cincinnati began using phrases such as “Tea Party” and “patriots” to flag applications for additional scrutiny. Within a year, the unit had subjected more than 100 groups based on their perceived ideology. By that time, the net used to single out groups expanded to those concerned about “government debt,” “taxes,” or even those that “criticize how the country is being run.”

While the IRS Commissioner testified before Congress in March 2012 that the agency was not targeting conservative groups for political reasons, an Inspector General’s report to be released this week is said to confirm senior officials knew of the practice as early as August 2011.

Those officials failed to disclose their knowledge of the events when asked by members of Congress specifically about targeting of conservative groups.

“It is clear that some within the IRS sought to mislead Congress and the American people,” Kingston said. “We will work to hold them accountable and to get the answers we need to ensure this cannot happen again.”

The text of the letter reads:

The Honorable Steven T. Miller
Office of the Commissioner
Internal Revenue Service
Department of the Treasury
1111 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20224

Dear Commissioner Miller,

Recent revelations that the Internal Revenue Service actively targeted conservative groups for higher scrutiny are deeply disturbing. Federal tax laws must be administered in a completely transparent manner free of political considerations. Anything less deservedly erodes trust in government.

Groups applying for tax-exempt status are organized “exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.” By promoting the discourse of ideas, they facilitate free speech. Targeting a group based on its perceived ideology is tantamount to infringing on our constitutionally-guaranteed right to freedom of expression.

I join many of my colleagues in calling for a thorough investigation into this matter and that those involved are held accountable. I also request a list of any organization incorporated in the State of Georgia which was targeted in this overall incident.

Sincerely,

/s/

Jack Kingston

Member of Congress

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