Cynical Dems kill bill prohibiting IRS political favoritism

Cynical Dems kill bill prohibiting IRS political favoritism

[Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article indicated erroneously that none of the senators who voted down the measure was up for re-election. In fact, Sen. Dick Durbin is up for re-election this year. Our thanks to reader Ryan Gill for pointing out the error.]

Nine Democrat senators — eight of whom are up for re-election this year — killed a measure to prohibit political discrimination by IRS employees.

The Senate Judiciary Committee defeated an amendment by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Titled “Intentional Discrimination by Employees of the Internal Revenue Service,” the measure stated:

“(a) Offense. — It shall be unlawful for any officer of the Internal Revenue Service to, regardless of whether the officer or employee is acting under the color of law, willfully act with the intent to injure, oppress, threaten, intimidate or single out and subject to undue scrutiny for purposes of harassment any person or organization of any state –

“(1) based solely or primarily on the political, economic or social positions held or expressed by the person or organization; or

“2) because the person or organization has expressed a particular political, economic, or social position using any words of writing allowed by law.”

The senators — all Democrats — who voted to kill Cruz’s amendment were:

  • Patrick Leahy of Vermont
  • Dianne Feinstein of California
  • Charles Schumer of New York
  • Richard Durbin of Illinois
  • Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island
  • Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota
  • Chris Coons of Delaware
  • Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut
  • Mazie Hirono of Hawaii

“They must like IRS employees, or they must like discrimination, or both,” Christian Adams told Watchdog.org.

The Northern Virginia lawyer has worked with the Texas-based True the Vote, an election-watch group targeted by the IRS with extensive audits.

The IRS inspector general reported the agency gave extra scrutiny to 298 groups applying for tax-exempt status from spring 2010 to spring 2012.

The vast majority — 248 — were conservative/tea party organizations. Twenty-nine were rated liberal and 21 were neither, according to the Republican staff of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Former IRS Director Lois Lerner, again taking the Fifth Amendment, declined Wednesday to answer questions from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

“Most legal corruption is all about increasing power for those in government,” said Richard Rahm, senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute.

“Using government agencies to go after political opponents and attempting to deny them the right of free speech is a classic action of corrupt and authoritarian regimes,” Rahm said.

Read more by Kenric Ward at Watchdog.com.


Kenric Ward

Kenric Ward

Kenric Ward is a national correspondent and writes for the Texas Bureau of Watchdog.org. Formerly a reporter and editor at two Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers, Kenric has won dozens of state and national news awards for investigative articles. His most recent book is “Saints in Babylon: Mormons and Las Vegas.”

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