Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) today asked the top official with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) why the tax-collecting agency unfairly targeted organizations -- including Israel-related groups.
In a letter to IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller, Rep. Lance said he was "deeply troubled" by recent press reports and demanded a full explanation for the agency's actions. The Congressman serves as the co-chairman of the House Republican Israel Caucus.
"According to recent press reports the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted some conservative groups, resulting in lengthy delays in the processing of their applications for federal tax-exempt status. It has also been reported that some Israel-related organizations may have also been singled out for additional scrutiny by the IRS.
"The Washington-based newspaper Politico reported that Israel-related organizations like Z Street and others described getting unusual inquiries from the IRS. Questions included: "Does your organization support the existence of the land of Israel? Describe your organization's religious belief system towards the land of Israel." As co-chairman of the House Republican Israel Caucus I am deeply troubled by these newspaper reports.
"I respectfully ask that you disclose a complete list of all of the organizations that were improperly and unfairly targeted by the IRS since 2010. I would also request an explanation as to why Israel-related organizations like Z Street may have endured additional scrutiny by your agency."
The Seventh District lawmaker today also announced that he has cosponsored H.R. 1950, the "Taxpayer Nondiscrimination and Protection Act." The legislation aims to prevent biased, politically-motivated discrimination and seeks to strengthen taxpayer protections in current law by making it a crime for IRS employees to execute targeting discrimination.
"Recent reports concerning political targeting by the Internal Revenue Service should be of great concern to all Americans regardless of political party," said Congressman Lance. "I have agreed to cosponsor legislation to strengthen taxpayer protections and ensure that the IRS treats taxpayers fairly and in a non-partisan and non-discriminatory manner."