IRS Politicization is inappropriate in a Democratic Republic
Heritage – David Burton – 5/12/2014
As Table 9b of the 2013 IRS Databook shows, the typical audit rate for a median-income family is 0.6 percent. Thus, tea party donors whose names were disclosed to the IRS were subjected to an audit rate 17 times higher than other Americans.
As more and more people believe that the tax system is unfair and politically rigged, compliance will decline. More importantly, even the perception of the politicization of the IRS is endangering the confidence of the American people in the fairness and legitimacy of the federal government. It is entirely inappropriate to use the coercive apparatus of the state against political opponents. Neither the tax law nor any other law should be used to suppress peaceful political speech or political organizing.
The law, however, should be crystal clear that politically motivated IRS enforcement actions are subject to criminal sanctions no matter who requests or authorizes them. It is not. Congress should broaden section 7214 to cover IRS officials or employees who abuse their position, because politically motivated IRS enforcement action is equally inappropriate whether the official involved in instigating it works for the White House or the IRS.
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