Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today made the following comment on the first bipartisan report from Congress on the IRS’ targeting scandal. The Finance Committee released the results of its long-time investigation.
“This report is alarming for taxpayers. Even the Democrats who have been quick to defend the IRS in the targeting scandal agreed the agency mistreated conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. Both sides agreed the IRS targeting scandal came from a ‘dysfunctional culture’ and poor management. It’s clear to me from the report that political biases and poor management went hand in hand to let politically motivated behavior continue unchecked. When the people in charge are politically biased and overlook and even encourage bad actors in the ranks, you have the perfect environment for the targeting scandal. Poor customer service goes hand in hand with those at the top who don’t care what managers are doing or not doing.
“The findings are a wake-up call. The IRS’ job is to collect taxes and give answers on tax compliance, including tax exemption. It shouldn’t leave taxpayers hanging. The agency cannot legally or ethically target people over their political beliefs. The Finance Committee ought to act on this report and fix what’s broken at the IRS. As part of that, the committee should consider my bill to beef up taxpayer rights and IRS customer service. That includes extending a remedy to social welfare organizations to force answers in instances where the IRS fails to act on an application in a timely manner or makes a negative determination on their tax-exempt status. My bill updates the ‘10 deadly sins’ of actions by IRS employees that require mandatory termination to include official actions taken for political purposes, a reform that’s necessary based on the findings of this report. These provisions and many others would help turn around the disastrous state of business at the IRS as exposed in the targeting scandal.”
Grassley, with Sen. John Thune, introduced the Taxpayer Bill of Rights Enhancement Act of 2015 in June. Grassley is former chairman of the Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over the IRS. Grassley championed the 1988, 1996 and 1998 taxpayer rights laws currently on the books.