Yoder: Someone should be held accountable in IRS political bias - KCTV5

IRS political bias outrageous, full investigation needed, Yoder says

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SHAWNEE, KS (KCTV) -

U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder says when it comes to the IRS, he believes someone should be held accountable, and that can go all the way to the White House.

The Kansas Republican spoke at a town hall meeting in Shawnee.

He believes the IRS knew its employees were targeting and unfairly auditing conservatives and organizations based on their political views.  The question remains, who allowed it, he said.

And he wants a full investigation "into the IRS to ensure this blatant trampling on the constitutional rights of American citizens does not continue."

Yoder wants to know what part President Barack Obama and the White House played in this.

"We want to know who knows what and when they knew it, was there a memo sent to the president," Yoder said.

During the town hall meeting, the question of how to hold the IRS accountable was immediately asked.

One audience member said they have been in business for 28 years with two employees and has never been audited.

"And then the last two years I've been audited twice, both times they've found nothing wrong with my account; however, I still have to pay the bills to the accountants," the audience member said.

"I can tell you that I feel like they violated the spirit of the law and they certainly violated the spirit of the Constitution that ensures that everyone has the right to free speech," Yoder replied.

A report expected to be released this week by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed that organizations with the name "tea party" or "patriot" were heavily scrutinized when they tried to receive tax exempt status.

Some, because of the difficulty, withdrew their requests to the IRS.

Yoder said his constituents brought the issue before him a year ago.

"A year ago in front of the committee that I serve on, the Appropriations Committee.  I asked the IRS commissioner, 'There are allegations that you are targeting people and organizations based upon their ideology.  What are you doing to safeguard this?  So you have any evidence,' and he said, 'It's not happening, it couldn't happen, we have safe guards in place,'" Yoder said, adding that the then IRS commissioner assured him that it wouldn't be tolerated.

It's an issue that some Democrats and Republicans both agree on.

"People should be fired for this serious breach of public trust. We don't do this in America," Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-MO, said.

Yoder said there should be an entire overhaul of the IRS.

The IRS has apologized and said it was low-level employees who were responsible.

Before attending the town hall, Yoder's office issued a statement.

"The revelation about the IRS targeting specific groups based on political affiliation is appalling. The Constitution guarantees the freedom for all Americans to not be targeted or persecuted based on political beliefs or speech," Yoder said. "IRS officials may be pursuing a political agenda and overreaching in a way that is compromising Americans' constitutional rights."

He said this clear violation is troubling because he believes high-level IRS officials were aware of the egregious behavior.

"Given that IRS documents recently revealed that the agency has a policy of engaging in warrantless email surveillance, I am outraged the agency has not admitted to singling out certain political groups and donors for heightened surveillance," he said. "Because of this pattern, I join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in calling for a full investigation into the IRS to ensure this blatant trampling on the constitutional rights of American citizens does not continue."

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