Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and Indiana Senator Mike Braun were joined by more than three dozen of their GOP colleagues in sponsoring the Don't Weaponize the IRS Act introduced Thursday.
Speaking of the bill on the Senate floor, McConnell outlined the dangers posed by the Biden administration and congressional democrats' attempts to pass the radical H.R.1 reform known as the For the People Act that includes "multiple elements that would chill Americans' exercise of free speech and let Washington bureaucrats hoard more of citizens' private information without good cause."
Just before leaving office, President Trump and his administration announced a final rule that prohibited the IRS from going after tax-exempt organizations on the basis of their ideological or political beliefs. The Democrats' For the People Act would remove that ideological freedom protection, and conservatives have the most to lose in such a situation. It's worth noting Democrats also endanger their own with such a plan the next time a Republican takes the White House, but Dems are not known for avoiding short-sighted decisions—just ask them how nuking the filibuster for judicial nominees turned out.
Today, @LeaderMcConnell spoke on the floor in support of our bill to stop President Biden and Democrats from weaponizing the IRS to be used against conservative tax-exempt groups like it was in the Obama administration. pic.twitter.com/TGtXtdJHjq— Senator Mike Braun (@SenatorBraun) May 20, 2021
Senator Braun echoed McConnell's concerns saying "under H.R.1 the Biden IRS would be empowered to block tax-exempt status and publicly expose a group's donors to harassment from liberal groups and the media if their beliefs are deemed to be politically unfavorable."
"This bill will prevent the IRS from being weaponized against conservatives like it was under President Obama," he added.
Conservatives know all too well how empowered bureaucrats can—and did not too long ago—turn tyrannical. During what Democrats will tell you was his "scandal-free" presidency, Barack Obama oversaw repeated abuse by unelected IRS bureaucrats who used their power to go after conservative organizations and individuals.
"Our bill would codify the rule issued by the last administration," McConnell explained. "Americans would remain free from a federal dragnet collecting private information that it neither needs nor uses for legitimate law enforcement purposes—information that can be mishandled, or worse, used to target and harass Americans based on their views."
.@LeaderMcConnell: "I’m proud to stand w/@SenatorBraun, with 39 Republican cosponsors, & with citizens across America, across the political spectrum, who don’t need the IRS peering into their First Amendment activities any more than is strictly necessary" https://t.co/FWzbqtRPhR https://t.co/etz8SyRhaI— Senator McConnell Press (@McConnellPress) May 20, 2021
As Townhall covered extensively, Obama's IRS engaged in a politically-motivated crusade to intimidate or silence conservative non-profits, the full extent of which continued to be concealed until as recently as 2017 when new documents were obtained. As Katie explained at the time, "IRS officials essentially bribed groups and offered tax exempt status in exchange for limited political activity. In other words, limiting opposition to President Obama's agenda."
Guy also reported on the "burdensome requests" that were used by IRS bureaucrats—acting on instructions from the upper levels of the IRS in Washington, D.C.—"to bury the victimized [read: conservative] groups in paperwork" such as inquiries asking "for screenshots of organizations' Facebook posts and even lists of what books (!) its members were reading."
The IRS and Obama administration even tried (and mostly failed) to cover up their misdeeds, destroying the BlackBerry belonging to IRS official Lois Lerner during a (wink) investigation while corrupt officials' emails just kept (wink) disappearing.
It doesn't take too active an imagination to picture what a Biden/Harris IRS would do once unleashed to stifle free expression and subdue political opposition by weaponizing its unaccountable bureaucrats who'd all too happily train their sights on conservative groups.