Reed at IRS Hearing: Washington Works For The Taxpayer, Not The Other Way Around

on Wednesday, 05 June 2013. Posted in Opinion, Letter From Congress

Rep. Reed: "A government so powerful that it actively works to silence certain personal, political or religious beliefs walks a dangerous line."

Reed at IRS Hearing: Washington Works For The Taxpayer, Not The Other Way Around

By the office of Congressman Tom Reed

Rep. Tom Reed and the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing Tuesday with organizations targeted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) based on their personal beliefs. The witness list included both Tea Party and non-Tea Party groups, 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations and 501(c)(3) charitable organizations.

“Hearing today from a variety of groups targeted, it’s frightening how far the government went to discriminate and even more frightening to think how far it might have gone, had this prejudice not been brought to light,” Reed said. “A government so powerful that it actively works to silence certain personal, political or religious beliefs walks a dangerous line. Too many in Washington have forgotten who they work for. Washington works for the taxpayer, not the other way around.”

Tuesday’s witness list included Ms. Dianne Belsom, Laurens County Tea Party; Mr. John Eastman, Chairman, National Organization for Marriage; Ms. Becky Gerritson, Wetumpka Tea Party; Ms. Karen Kenney, San Fernando Valley Patriots; Mr. Kevin Kookogey, Founder and President, Linchpins of Liberty; and Ms. Sue Martinek, Coalition for Life of Iowa.

“These groups were established to do things like help our veterans and educate students about our Constitution,” Reed continued. “They were exercising their freedom of expression and I applaud those who testified today for offering up their voice but know there are many who are afraid to speak up for fear of being targeted and abused by the federal government.     

“After our second hearing, we still haven’t seen any accountability from the IRS. What we have seen is the IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller retire and walk away with his pension. We’ve seen Lois Lerner, head of the IRS tax-exempt organizations division, plead the Fifth and refuse to answer questions. What we haven’t seen is responsibility and accountability. When I asked the witnesses what our role as Members of Congress should be, witnesses stated we follow every lead and conduct a thorough investigation. We will continue the work to do just that. If we don’t hold this city, this community accountable, the problem is only going to get worse.”

Last month, the Committee heard testimony from IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George on the IRS’ practice of discriminating against certain applicants for tax-exempt status.

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