Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives approved five bills on a voice vote that respond to the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) targeting of conservative organizations and other abuses of taxpayers at the IRS. Two of the bills were authored by Oversight and Government Reform Committee members, and recently voted out of the Committee, which began investigating reports of disparate treatment by the IRS in February 2012. Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) offered the following statement on passage of the five bills:
“Even as the Congressional investigation of IRS targeting continues, we have already evidence of abuses that necessitate reform. Congressman Tim Walberg’s bill, the SES Accountability Act, cracks down on abuses such as the practice of giving officials being fired for misconduct an extended vacation on paid administrative leave. Under Congressman Walberg’s proposal, senior leaders like IRS targeting figure Lois Lerner, would be required to repay taxpayers for salary received while on paid administrative leave if they are ultimately fired for misconduct. Congressman Mark Meadows’ Federal Records Accountability Act clarifies the law so that when an official like Lois Lerner willfully fails to follow procedures for archiving her work-related communications, it is understood to constitute intentional destruction of federal records that will subject the official to both termination and criminal prosecution. I also commend Congressman Charles Boustany of the House Ways & Means Committee for his bills that protect taxpayer rights. These new protections help level the playing field between taxpayers and the IRS officials who can turn their lives inside out through abusive audits and enhanced scrutiny.
Five bills passed today in response to IRS abuses of taxpayers:
· SES Accountability Act (H.R. 5169), Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) – Gives agencies greater authority to take action against Senior Executive Service (SES) members who are underperforming or who engage in misconduct.
· Federal Records Accountability Act (H.R. 5170), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) – Helps ensure that employees who intentionally destroy federal records will be fired (along with any criminal penalties to which they are subject) by creating a clear and expeditious process for removal.
· To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permit the release of information regarding the status of certain investigations (H.R. 5420), Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., M.D. (R-LA)
· To prohibit officers and employees of the Internal Revenue Service from using personal email accounts to conduct official business (H.R. 5418), Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., M.D. (R-LA)
· To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for a right to an administrative appeal relating to adverse determinations of tax-exempt status of certain organizations (H.R. 5419), Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., M.D. (R-LA)