U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined with U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) to introduce matching legislation in the Senate and House Monday that would prevent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from abusing its powers to violate first amendment rights.
“The IRS’s political discrimination undermines free speech and our entire political process, and it shows just how unaccountable and abusive an over-sized federal government can become,” Rubio told BizPac Review.
“In doing so, it has validated the same conservative message that it sought to interfere with. People need to be held accountable for this gross abuse of power, and we need to deter this kind of behavior in the future.”
In a statement released by his office, Rubio added that “the American people have every right to demand answers and accountability.”
Rubio also sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Monday demanding the resignation of the current IRS Commissioner.
“The American people deserve answers about how such seemingly unconstitutional and potentially criminal behavior could occur, and who else was aware of it throughout the Administration,” Rubio wrote.
The full text of the letter sent to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew:
May 13, 2013
The Honorable Jack Lew
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220
Dear Secretary Lew:
Recent revelations about the Internal Revenue Service’s selective and deliberate targeting of conservative organizations are outrageous and seriously concerning. This years-long abuse of government power is an assault on the free speech rights of all Americans. This direct assault on our Constitution further justifies the American people’s distrust in government and its ability to properly implement our laws.
The American people deserve answers about how such seemingly unconstitutional and potentially criminal behavior could occur, and who else was aware of it throughout the Administration. It is imperative that you, your predecessor, and other past and present high-ranking officials at the Department of Treasury and IRS immediately testify before Congress.
The public expects your complete cooperation with both congressional investigations and potential criminal inquiries. If investigations reveal that bureaucrats or political appointees engaged in unconstitutional or criminal targeting of conservative taxpayers, they must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. At a bare minimum, those involved with this deeply offensive use of government power have committed a violation of the public trust that has already had a profoundly chilling effect on free speech. Such behavior cannot be excused with a simple apology.
Furthermore, it is clear the IRS cannot operate with even a shred of the American people’s confidence under the current leadership. Therefore, I strongly urge that you and President Obama demand the IRS Commissioner’s resignation, effectively immediately. No government agency that has behaved in such a manner can possibly instill any faith and respect from the American public.
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