By: Congressman Frank Lucas
Recently, it has come to light that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) unfairly targeted conservative individuals and groups who were seeking tax exempt status for their non-profit organizations. This revelation is deeply concerning to me, as well as many other Americans, and we are all simply demanding the facts.
On May 14, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released a report that revealed IRS employees used words or phrases including “tea party,” “patriots,” “9/12,” “we the people,” and “take back the country,” to flag tax exempt applications for extra scrutiny. Soon after, we found out the IRS had knowledge of such activities as early as 2011. The thought that a government agency would single out taxpayers based on political affiliation is, to say the least, appalling to me. I was also disappointed when the Obama Administration acknowledged it knew of the tax agency’s actions during the 2012 election. This proves an extreme case of negligence on the part of the Administration and the IRS.
There are investigations currently being conducted by the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Lois Lerner, the IRS director of tax-exempt organizations, was recently questioned at a House Oversight hearing where she pleaded the Fifth Amendment and was less than forthcoming with relevant information on the IRS’s acts of political discrimination stating, "I have done nothing wrong," in her opening testimony. I am pleased hearings are being conducted, however many more questions remain, including how taxpayers were affected by the actions of the IRS.
As the investigations continue, the Ways and Means Committee has launched a site where those affected by the IRS can share their story. If you have witnessed any kind of political discrimination by the IRS, I urge you to fill out a form at waysandmeans.house.gov/irsinvestigation. Sharing this information will help the Committee identify and retrieve key information and make sure nothing like this ever happens again.
This is a serious issue that affects all American citizens, regardless of political affiliation. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the House to uncover the facts. It is critical that the truth is revealed and the trust of the American people is restored.