Rep. John Fleming, Louisiana Republican, has introduced a bill that would prohibit the IRS from initiating any new audits for 180 days in the wake of the recent disclosure that the agency employed heightened scrutiny on certain conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
“We’re seeing the tip of the iceberg,” Mr. Fleming said. “Tea party groups, conservative professors, opinion-makers who dared to speak out against [President] Obama, and even Billy Graham were targeted for interrogations that dug into private records, seeking information on everything from donor names to Facebook posts. The IRS has breached the trust of the American people and its misuse of the authority to audit must be stopped while Congress investigates the breadth of this scandal.”
The White House has denied any political motivations behind the development, but Mr. Fleming was skeptical.
“I’m not convinced that’s the case, and Congress needs to investigate to find out who authorized this policy,” he said. “Audits should not be allowed to resume until we complete a congressional audit of the IRS and can assure the American people that this kind of government strong-arming won’t happen again.”
Co-sponsors of the measure are GOP Reps. Dan Benishek of Michigan, Steve Chabot of Ohio, John Abney Culberson of Texas and Thomas J. Rooney of Florida.