Sen. Cruz To Introduce Bills to Stop Political Targeting of Americans
AG nominee Loretta Lynch must answer questions about illegal targeting
WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today announced his intent to file two bills to protect Americans from partisan abuses and political targeting by the IRS. Both bills will be cosponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-IA, Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK, and Sen. David Vitter, R-LA.
“In May 2013 President Obama declared the IRS’s illegal targeting of conservative groups ‘intolerable and inexcusable,’ yet to this date no one has been held accountable for it,” Sen. Cruz said. “The IRS has no business meddling with the First Amendment rights of Americans. Rather than further stifling free speech, the IRS and the Department of Justice should provide the American people with all the facts surrounding the IRS’s targeting of certain organizations based on their political activity.”
Sen. Cruz added, “I look forward to Ms. Lynch’s responses to these very important issues at her upcoming confirmation hearings. We should all agree the IRS should not be used as a tool for partisan warfare.”
The first measure would prohibit IRS employees from intentionally targeting individuals or groups based on their political views. The legislation would make it a crime for an IRS employee to willfully discriminate against groups based solely on the political beliefs or policy statements held, expressed, or published by that organization. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-MO, will also cosponsor this measure.
The second measure would amend the tax code to use the bipartisan, independent Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) definitions to determine whether an organization is engaging in political activity, rather than allowing the IRS to continue making that distinction. The IRS should focus on taxation, not on determining what constitutes political activity.
Sen. Cruz introduced similar measures in February, 2014 as amendments to legislation before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the STOP Identity Theft Act. Unfortunately, Democrats unanimously opposed the amendments.
The complete text of the bill prohibiting targeting based on political views is available here.
The complete text of the bill amending the tax code to use the bipartisan, independent FEC definitions is available here.