House Passes Legislation to Limit IRS Powers


The House passed three pieces of legislation last week aimed at limiting the authority of the Internal Revenue Service in response to scandals involving the extra scrutiny given to political groups applying for tax-exempt status as social welfare organizations.

All three bills were introduced by Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., chair of the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, who has participated in several of the congressional hearings and investigations probing the IRS’s actions, including the disappearance of emails from Lois Lerner, the former director of Exempt Organizations at the IRS, and other IRS employees.

The three House-passed bills are H.R. 5418, which would prohibit IRS officers and employees from using their personal email accounts to conduct official business, H.R. 5419, which would provide tax-exempt groups the right to an administrative appeal relating to adverse determinations of tax-exempt status and H.R. 5420, which would permit the release of certain information to victims regarding the status of investigations into leaks of their personal taxpayer information.

“The American people demand a higher ethical standard from public servants in our government,” Boustany said in a statement. “As our investigation continues to expose the rot at the core of the IRS’s culture, we must put safeguards in place to ensure this breach of the public trust is never repeated. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said, ‘Sunlight is the best disinfectant.’ My bills bring the operations of the IRS into the sunlight of public scrutiny, providing greater accountability for future generations of Americans.”


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