Congressman John Fleming, M.D., released the following statement to announce that he will introduce legislation this week entitled "Audit the IRS," a bill that would suspend the authority of the Internal Revenue Service to conduct new audits:
"Today I'm calling on Congress to halt the audit authority of the IRS until Congress has had a chance to get to the root of the misconduct within that agency. For years the IRS has been using the power of the audit as a political weapon. Consequently, Congress must act to disarm the IRS. We're seeing the tip of the iceberg. 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. The IRS has breached the trust of the American people and its misuse of the authority to audit must be stopped while Congress investigates the breadth of this scandal.
"What's especially stunning is that the President, the Attorney General, and the IRS are all suggesting that this was not a coordinated attack on conservative groups or individuals. No one was in charge directing this effort. Instead, they claim this was just the misguided work of low-level employees. If that's true, then our worst fears about the IRS may be true: countless IRS agents are going rogue and using their government-backed power to carry out personal and political vendettas. I'm not convinced that's the case, and Congress needs to investigate to find out who authorized this policy.
"With the IRS poised to begin enforcement of Obamacare, Congress must act quickly and decisively to investigate this scandal. My bill will suspend the authority of the IRS to perform any new audits for 180 days, stopping the threat of coercion and intimidation while Congress carries out its full responsibility to examine how audits were misused and who is responsible for any criminal actions. Audits should not be allowed to resume until we complete a Congressional audit of the IRS and can assure the American people that this kind of government strong-arming won't happen again."