Jeff Flake - U.S. Senator ~ Arizona

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In Case You Missed It: IRS Suspends Targeting of Groups Based on Name and Ideology

Sen. Flake’s “Protect Against Ideology-Based Targeting Act” Would Prohibit Future Targeting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel announced this week in a 30-day update report to the secretary of the Treasury that the IRS suspended the use of its Be On the Lookout (BOLO) lists, which were used to target groups applying for tax-exempt status based on their names or ideologies.

While this inherent admission of wrongdoing reflects a positive step toward reforming an inappropriate and broken process, there must be a clear and permanent prohibition against political targeting by the federal government and a completed investigation of who ordered the targeting. Those responsible must be held accountable. 

To permanently prohibit political targeting by the IRS, Sen. Flake introduced S. 937, the Protect Against Ideology-Based Targeting Act. This legislation would prohibit the IRS from developing discriminatory methodologies for organizations under or applying for 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) status due to the ideologies expressed in the organizations’ names or purposes, and require any future semi-annual reports to Congress from the Treasury inspector general for tax administration to include information about complaints of ideology-based targeting. The full text of the bill can be found here

After introducing S. 937, Sen. Flake said: “Having run a 501(c)(3) organization, I recognize the danger with this kind of targeting by the IRS. We cannot allow it to continue, regardless of the political party in power. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior from our government.”

Sen. Flake also called for the testimony of a high-ranking manager of the IRS’ Exempt Organization Determinations unit in Cincinnati before the Senate Finance Committee to ensure a thorough investigation of the IRS debacle, and to bring all those responsible to light.