WASHINGTON, D.C. - IRS employees harassed conservative and religious groups, violating their First Amendment rights, a House investigation showed. In 2013, the federal agency paid more than $46 million in fraudulent or potentially fraudulent refunds, according to an Inspector General report. Meanwhile, over a 10-year period, nearly 1,600 IRS employees evaded federal income taxes, many retaining their jobs, despite a federal law requiring their termination.
"Only in the upside-down world of a federal agency would IRS employees also receive $6 million in performance bonuses," said Congressman Frank Guinta, R-N.H., a member of the House Budget Committee, as well as the Financial Services Committee. This week, he voted for six bills that address problems at the IRS, "one of the most dysfunctional agencies that does not seem to care," he said.
The six bills include measures to prevent the IRS from re-hiring employees fired for misconduct; to end bonuses at the agency, until it improves customer service; to enforce congressional control of agency funding, including fees the IRS collects outside the normal appropriations process; and to prevent the IRS from hiring new employees, until the IRS Director certifies to Congress that none owe taxes.
The House of Representatives passed additional legislation to prohibit funds for the purpose of targeting Americans for their political or religious beliefs.
"The agency is collecting record taxes, at the same time exhibiting astounding disdain for the people the IRS serves," said Guinta. "Increasingly, those people seem to be IRS employees. This week's legislation will return a sense of public service to the agency. Granite Staters struggling with the federal tax burden deserve more respect."