U.S. Representative Jo Bonner, R-Alabama, is cosponsoring legislation being introduced today calling for criminal penalties for Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees engaged in discrimination of American taxpayers.
"Americans are outraged at the revelation that IRS officials singled out conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax exempt status," Congressman Bonner said. "There can be no justification or defense for IRS discrimination against law-abiding Americans.
"I have cosponsored the Taxpayer Nondiscrimination and Protection Act of 2013 to amend Title 18 of the U.S. Code to make it a crime -- not merely a firing offense -- for IRS employees to engage in such discrimination against American taxpayers. The Taxpayer Nondiscrimination and Protection Act further underscores that political speech and political expression are constitutionally protected rights."
Under current law, IRS workers face only termination if found guilty of these discriminatory practices on the job. The Taxpayer Nondiscrimination and Protection Act of 2013 would impose a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment of up to five years, or both, for such misconduct -- the same maximum penalty a member of the President's cabinet would face for directing an employee to undertake a similar act.
"We need to be perfectly clear that behavior of this sort is unethical, illegal and unconstitutional. There should be no stone left unturned in investigating who authorized this unlawful policy, and they must be held accountable for their actions."