House Republicans introduced a bill last week that would halt the IRS' power to scrutinize nonprofit political groups until Congress completes its own investigation of the reported targeting of conservative organizations.
The bill, sponsored by Louisiana Rep. John Fleming, comes in response to the Internal Revenue Service targeting of tea party and other conservative group applications for tax exempt status with a little more examination than other applicants apparently received, according to numerous reports.
Fleming's bill was co-sponsored by Reps. Dan Benishek of Michigan, Steve Chabot of Ohio, John Culberson of Texas, and Tom Rooney of Florida, The Hill reports
The Audit the IRS Act, as the measure is called, would prevent the agency from auditing or processing applicants for six months, affording Congress time to look at "how audits were misused and who is responsible for any criminal actions," The Hill reports.
"We're seeing the tip of the iceberg," Fleming said. "Tea party groups, conservative professors, opinion-makers who dared to speak out against Obama, and even Billy Graham were targeted for interrogations that dug into private records, seeking information on everything from donor names to Facebook posts."
Fleming dismisses President Barack Obama's contention the IRS targeting was not spurred by politics. But he said if the president is right, "then our worst fears about the IRS may be true."
It would mean, he added, that "countless IRS agents are going rogue and using their government-backed power to carry out personal and political vendettas."
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