Today at a hearing before the House Committee on Ways and Means, outgoing Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Steve Miller, stated that the actions of IRS employees targeting conservative organizations was “absolutely not illegal.” Turner in the following statement calls on fellow lawmakers to join him in making it an illegal act:
“Unfortunately, Commissioner Miller is right. The actions by the IRS bureaucrats who targeted conservative groups aren’t illegal. In fact the most punishment they could stand to receive is termination if their supervisor approves it. Targeting Americans for their political beliefs should absolutely be an illegal act. If you’re an employee of the IRS, and use the government for partisan political purposes, you should receive the same punishment as if a member of the president’s cabinet had undertaken that action: 5 years in jail, a $5,000 fine, or both. That’s why I introduced legislation to ensure that there is a deterrent for those who seek to abuse the role of our government. I’m proud to have the support of 86 of my colleagues and am calling on my fellow legislators to add their names to this common sense bill.”
This week, Turner introduced the Taxpayer Nondiscrimination & Protection Act of 2013. The bill would amend Title 18 of the U.S. Code to make it a crime for an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee to discriminate against an individual or group on the basis of their protected rights. In addition, it expressly clarifies that political speech and political expression are protected rights. Sen. Marco Rubio has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.