We need more answers about IRS abuse of power
On May 10th, America learned that the IRS – perhaps the most frightening of all government agencies – has been singling out and targeting conservative groups, including Tea Party groups. This admission from the IRS confirms what many of us had already suspected. The IRS has, in fact, been delaying our applications and harassing those of us who wanted to form local Tea Party chapter organizations. In some extreme cases, the IRS went after Tea Party local leaders and audited their family members. President Obama said the IRS’s actions are “unacceptable.” He’s right, but these actions are also un-American and un-Constitutional.
The First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees the right to free speech, which includes the right to political speech and the right to associate and form groups with other like-minded individuals. The Tea Party movement, which began organically in 2010 in response to government excess, has attracted millions of regular Americans. The Tea Party movement is, at its core, the embodiment of the American spirit. The Tea Party movement sprang up in response to the government’s abuses of its powers, and this latest stunt from the IRS confirms for many of us why the Tea Party is so necessary.
In response to this outrageous revelation, the House Ways & Means Committee immediately held a hearing to question Steven Miller, the former acting commissioner of the IRS who resigned because of the scandal, but only one month before his term would have ended. The questions at the hearing covered a broad spectrum: When did you learn about this targeting? What actions did you take after learning about this issue? Why did you previously lie to the Ways & Means Committee? Why did you mislead the American people about this problem? But Mr. Miller is apparently suffering from temporary amnesia because the only answer he offered was: “I don’t remember.” The systemic abuse of power that took place for nearly three years at the IRS is simply too far-reaching and widespread for Mr. Miller to get away with not remembering what took place.
Americans expect that our government will enforce its laws and rules – especially its tax laws – with fairness and equal application. Congress needs to keep asking questions and demanding more substantive answers than the evasive responses Mr. Miller provided.