May 16, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC- Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) released the following statement today on the IRS investigation:

“The IRS performs an essential function that affects every American, and the public must have confidence in their professionalism and lack of political bias. We have an obligation to restore trust and accountability, and to ensure that the thousands of honorable employees at the IRS are not unfairly tainted by the actions of a few.”

“I agree with the President that the more than two years of misconduct that the IRS’s independent Inspector General has uncovered is inexcusable. The IRS is entrusted with our most sensitive information, and the level of wrong-doing uncovered is particularly disturbing.

“But it is worse than that. That investigation was only undertaken because of a request from Congress as a result of claims of unequal and partisan treatment of certain organizations applying for tax exempt status.

“The resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS, who had been in charge for 6 months, is necessary, but insufficient. It is clear that officials at many levels of the IRS were aware of these activities, and they must be held fully accountable.

“To start, it is essential that all of the IG’s recommendations be implemented immediately. In addition, we need a bi-partisan and independent commission to examine what went wrong, who was involved, and why it was allowed to continue for so long. That commission should also examine the dramatic increase in the number of organizations applying for tax exempt status as social welfare organizations following the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, and whether additional clarifications are needed on the use of tax exempt status by organizations engaging in political activities. It is completely appropriate to examine whether organizations claiming exemption as exclusively social welfare "charitable" and "educational" are actually charitable and educational.”

###