House goes after anti-speech IRS rules

House Republicans are planning an onslaught of legislation aimed at the Internal Revenue Service, a powerful agency that is currently considering regulations that would ostensibly legitimatize and institutionalize its targeting of conservative groups, and to promote transparency in how taxpayer dollars are spent:

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) is the author of two of the bills to be considered next week, both of which respond to the targeting scandal.
One of his bills is the Taxpayer Transparency and Efficient Audit Act, H.R. 2530. This bill would require the IRS to tell taxpayers when it shares their tax information with another government agency, and limits the time people can be subjected to an IRS audit to one year.

Republicans are wary that the IRS will improperly share personal tax information with other agencies as it tries to implement ObamaCare and make determinations about who may qualify for tax credits when buying health insurance.

Another bill from Roskam up next week is the Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Act, H.R. 2531. This bill would prevent the IRS from asking about people’s religious or political beliefs.
The House will also look at two other suspension bills mean to ensure taxpayers know how their money, once collected by the IRS, is being spent.

The first of these is the Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act, H.R. 1423. This bill from Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) requires all federal agencies to describe all programs under their agency, their costs, the number of employees running each program, and possible duplication. Reports would be due each year.
The second transparency bill is the Taxpayer Transparency Act, H.R. 3308. This bill from Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) requires Executive Branch agencies to disclose when advertisements are paid for at taxpayer expense.

The bill is a reaction to the Department of Health and Human Service’s 2013 effort to advertise ObamaCare. But Long said the bill would also require the government to tell people when it’s behind ads for food stamps or other government services.

The House will also bring up Rep. Dave Camp’s (R-MI) Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act, a measure that would temporarily halt the Internal Revenue Service from finalizing proposed guidance that would legitimatize and institutionalize the agency’s targeting of conservative groups.

Several vulnerable Senate Democrats and anti-speech leftists are encouraging the IRS to quickly implement the regulations so that they will be in effect for the 2014 mid-term elections. And that brings us to the bad news. The Senate probably won’t take up the any of the House-passed measures aimed at the IRS, leaving the door open for the tax agency to do pretty much whatever it wants in terms of implementing the regulations.

Hopefully there will be enough outcry from grassroots conservatives activists and organizations that the IRS will reject the regulations, but that’s probably hoping for far too much given the agency’s history of abuse for political purpose.

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