D.C. bureaucrats must be accountable

First Posted: 2/28/2014

When I was elected to be your representative, I knew it would be a difficult task to protect our community from the damaging effects of Washington’s massive and growing bureaucracy. The administration has certainly not made this task easy as we’ve learned of numerous scandals, abuses, and coverups. From the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups for their beliefs, to American heroes being killed in Benghazi without any justice, President Obama and his administration have set dangerous precedents that undermine the very nature of our democracy. That’s why I remain committed to supporting legislation that provides government accountability and transparency to help ensure that every American family is being treated fairly.

When I first learned that the IRS was targeting conservative groups for political purposes, I was absolutely outraged. The fact that this administration was targeting citizen groups with conservative values by obstructing applications and requiring information not requested by other groups is appalling and, quite frankly, dangerous. Our hard-working taxpayers not only expect, but deserve basic fairness and genuine accountability from their government. I could not imagine any president so blatantly using his authority and abusing his power through our tax-collecting agency to limit free speech and restrict our First Amendment rights.

Ensuring the free exercise of these rights is essential to our democracy. Last year, I was an original cosponsor of H.R. 127 to repeal the Johnson amendment in the tax code which restricts the ability of nonprofits and churches to speak out on political and moral issues. This amendment was inserted into the tax code in the 1950s without any debate to give the IRS the authority to determine what religious speech is political and over time has been used to restrict First Amendment rights. I find this to be reprehensible and in direct violation of our civil liberties. I will continue to push for this commonsense protection for the American people.

In the meantime, House Republicans continue to take decisive, extensive action against the IRS. Under Chairman Dave Camp’s leadership, we immediately began investigating the administration’s blatant attempt to restrict our personal freedoms. Just this week, the House passed a series of bills that will take significant steps to stop government abuse and rebuild the trust that many citizens have lost. I am proud to support each bill that will shrink our bloated bureaucracy and restore power to the American people.

The Taxpayer Transparency and Efficient Audit Act H.R. 2530 improves transparency and efficiency with respect to audits and communications between taxpayers and the IRS. This out-of-control agency is hurting the very people it’s supposed to serve, and this bill strengthens the rights of individuals and tips the balance of power back to the people.

The Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Act H.R. 2531 forbids the IRS from asking taxpayers questions regarding religious, political, or social beliefs. Americans should not have to worry that their personal beliefs may expose them to unfair targeting by the IRS.

The Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014 H.R. 3865 prohibits the IRS from moving forward with any rule-making for one year as we continue our investigation. This stops the IRS in its tracks while we further review their illegal activities.

As I said before, we are up against a very difficult task to protect North Carolinians and the American people from Washington’s bureaucratic overreach. Our country is built on the very principles and personal freedoms that this government abuse undermines and threatens, and I will not stand for it. I remain committed to reining in unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington, protecting hard-working taxpayers and restoring the American people’s trust in government. Americans work hard and play by the rules, and it’s time our federal government did, too.