Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Graves: It is time to hold the IRS accountable

(From Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves)

Every April 15, Americans are forced to comply with a 70,000-page tax code, and we are reminded of the desperate need for tax simplification in this country. Making matters worse, the agency responsible for enforcing the tax code – the IRS – has recently proven that it should not be trusted by the American people.

Earlier this month, the House of Representatives considered legislation to inject some transparency into the IRS and hold the agency accountable for its outrageous behavior – including the politically-motivated targeting of nonprofit organizations.

One of the main issues at play in the IRS political targeting scandal was the use of personal email accounts to conduct agency business. H.R. 1152, the IRS Email Transparency Act, will prohibit IRS employees from using personal email accounts for any official purposes. This will ensure IRS employees are held accountable for their behavior and will protect taxpayers against instances of targeting in the future.

H.R. 709, the Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act, will force the agency to fire anyone who engages in political behavior while executing responsibilities as an employee of the IRS. This includes delaying, threatening to delay, or failing to perform an audit in order to benefit a political cause or extract a personal gain.

Finally, H.R. 1295, IRS Bureaucracy Reduction and Judicial Review Act, will allow social welfare organizations to more easily apply for and receive tax exempt status, eliminating red tape that complicates this process and enabled the IRS to target political groups in secret.

I was proud to support each of these bills as they passed the House in a bipartisan manner. Please know that as your representative I will continue to push for reforms that hold federal agencies like the IRS accountable to the American people.

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