Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Risch has signed a letter to President Obama, calling for cooperation and accountability in the review of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) actions that targeted conservative organizations. The letter was signed by Senate Republicans.
Risch said the actions by the IRS further undermine the trust citizens may have in agencies of the federal government. “The financial information that Americans are required to provide to the IRS should never be scrutinized based on political ideology. This action is contrary to our First Amendment right of free speech. A rigorous investigation of this activity by the IRS must be conducted with the full cooperation of IRS and administration officials,” Risch said.
The letter follows a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) that the IRS had been searching for applications of tax-exempt 501(c)(4) status that used words identifying tea-party references. The report documented the scrutiny began over two years ago.
In the letter the senators said the search was done based on politics.
“We are deeply disturbed that agents of the government were directed to give greater scrutiny to groups engaged in conduct questioning the actions of their government. This type of purely political scrutiny being conducted by an Executive Branch Agency is yet another completely inexcusable attempt to chill the speech of political opponents and those who would question their government, consistent with a broader pattern of intimidation by arms of your administration to silence political dissent.”
The letter also called for accountability for those who targeted groups for additional examination.
“The American people deserve to know what actions will be taken to ensure those who made these policy decisions at the IRS are being held fully accountable and more importantly what is being done to ensure that this kind of raw partisanship is fully eliminated from these critically important non-partisan government functions.”
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