U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga) sent a letter today to Acting Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Steven T. Miller, requesting thorough investigation of the “harassment” of conservative groups by the agency and demanding names of the groups that were targeted and are based in Georgia.
“The Internal Revenue Service should not be an extension of the Democratic National Committee,” said Kingston in a statement. “By targeting groups perceived as opposing the President’s political agenda, those behind this incident sought to trample our constitutional right to free speech. Using the levers of government to intimidate and stifle debate is unacceptable. We need a full review of what took place and for those responsible to be held to account.”
The IRS has apologized on Friday for targeting conservative groups, such as the tea party, for increased tax-scrutiny.
Groups that had words such as “Patriots,” “Tea Party,” or “9/12 Project” in their applications or ones that promoted fiscal responsibility, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights underwent more detailed investigation by the IRS when deciding whether they were eligible for tax exempt status.
Today, US Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has launched a criminal investigation of the IRS.
“It is clear that some within the IRS sought to mislead Congress and the American people,” Kingston said. “We will work to hold them accountable and to get the answers we need to ensure this cannot happen again.”
Kingston represents Georgia’s 1st congressional district.
Click here to read the letter and access Kingston’s press release.
The letter from Rep. Kingston:
The Honorable Steven T. Miller
Office of the Commissioner
Internal Revenue Service
Department of the Treasury
1111 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20224
Dear Commissioner Miller,
Recent revelations that the Internal Revenue Service actively targeted conservative groups for higher scrutiny are deeply disturbing. Federal tax laws must be administered in a completely transparent manner free of political considerations. Anything less deservedly erodes trust in government.
Groups applying for tax-exempt status are organized “exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.” By promoting the discourse of ideas, they facilitate free speech. Targeting a group based on its perceived ideology is tantamount to infringing on our constitutionally-guaranteed right to freedom of expression.
I join many of my colleagues in calling for a thorough investigation into this matter and that those involved are held accountable. I also request a list of any organization incorporated in the State of Georgia which was targeted in this overall incident.
Member of Congress