On Monday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) threatened to subpoena Internal Revenue Service emails, which could shed further light on the agency’s targeting of conservative groups, from former Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner.
The threat came the same week that lawmakers are expected to vote on a bill introduced by Camp that would delay IRS rules released following the targeting controversy.
In a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, Camp demanded that the agency hand over information beyond the already provided current standing of certain organizations’ tax-exempt status. The lawmaker said that he wants more information about Lerner’s role in the “examinations, appeals and rulemaking processes” of tax-exempt filings from conservative organizations.
“If the IRS does not take immediate steps to provide the committee with documents responsive to this request, I will consider using the compulsory process to compel them,” Camp wrote.
Camp’s demands come as a part of “Stop Government Abuse Week,” which kicked off Monday in the House. Republicans in the lower chamber plan to hold votes on at least 12 measures (including some, like Camp’s, related to the Obama Administration’s biggest scandals) designed to curtail government abuse and executive overreach.
In a memo released Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) outlined other legislation Republicans plan to consider:
Representative Virginia Foxx’s Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act, which will enhance transparency, accountability, and awareness of Federal mandates.
Chairman Darrel Issa’s FOIA Act which directs Federal agencies to process FOIA with a presumption of openness, placing the burden on them to justify withholding information. The bill also creates a pilot FOIA online program, which allows users to submit requests at one location, and for agencies to automatically post responsive records online
The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, authored by Chairman Darrel Issa, reforms the procurement management process the Government uses to purchase approximately $80 billion annually in IT products and services.
Representative James Lankford’s Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act requires every Federal agency to provide taxpayers an annual report card on all of its programs, providing administrative costs and staffing information, expenditures for services, and number of program recipients.
Representative Billy Long’s Taxpayer Transparency Act of 2013 requires executive branch agencies to include a disclaimer to alert the public to any communication (mailers, brochures, TV/radio ads, billboards, emails, etc.) paid for at taxpayer expense.
The Private Property Rights Protection Act authored by Representative Jim Sensenbrenner denies some Federal economic development funds to States and localities that abuse eminent domain powers by taking private property from one private entity and giving it to another private entity, and provides for causes of action to enforce the law in court.
Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act allows wireless phones to be “unlocked,” thus giving consumers the ability to connect to different wireless communications networks.
Representative Sean Duffy’s Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act of 2013 would bring much needed accountability and oversight to the CFPB, which is one of the most powerful agencies in the U.S.
Finally, two bills by Representative Peter Roskam would protect Americans from further abuses by the IRS. The Taxpayer Transparency and Efficient Audit Act would require the IRS to disclose to the taxpayer when the IRS has shared their tax information with another government agency and place a time limit on how long an individual can be subjected to an IRS audit. The Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Act would prevent the IRS from inquiring on an individual’s religious, political, or social beliefs.
If passed, Cantor said, the new legislation would address unfunded mandates, curtail the abuse of eminent domain, and eliminate some wasteful spending and new regulations that threaten the Nation’s economy.