Roger F. Wicker

05/24/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/24/2021 16:44

Wicker, Hyde-Smith Cosponsor the 'Don't Weaponize the IRS Act'

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., today announced their support for legislation to prevent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from again being used as a political weapon against conservative non-profit groups.

Wicker and Hyde-Smith are original cosponsors of the Don't Weaponize the IRS Act (S.1777). The bill would codify a Trump rule that prevents the IRS from publicly revealing personal information about donors who give to certain non-profit groups. The protections apply regardless of a group's political ideology or beliefs.

'In the past, the IRS has been weaponized to target tax-exempt groups for their political beliefs, but the Trump Administration rightly put an end to this practice,' Wicker said. 'Attempts by congressional Democrats to remove this protection through S.1 cannot be allowed to go forward. The Don't Weaponize the IRS Act would make permanent the ban on the IRS being able to pry into the constitutionally-protected activities of American citizens, shielding conservative and liberal groups alike from undue pressure or intimidation.'

'Revelations in the Obama years that the IRS targeted groups based on political beliefs should have sent a chill down the backs of every freedom loving American. However, we see new efforts to allow that practice again-the targeting of not just groups but also the individuals who support them. This assault on First Amendment rights is wrong no matter your political leanings,' Hyde-Smith said. 'The Don't Weaponize the IRS Act has my full support.'

The need for S.1777 is linked to the systematic targeting of conservative tax-exempt groups by the Obama IRS from 2010 to 2012, and the Trump administration's response to that malfeasance. The Trump administration released a final rule in May 2020 that prevents the IRS from targeting certain tax-exempt groups based on their political beliefs.

The Democrats' federal election takeover legislation (HR.1 and S.1) would repeal and undermine the Trump rule, allowing partisan bureaucrats at the IRS to target nonprofit organizations based on the applicants' political and policy positions. During the Senate Rules Committee markup of S.1 earlier this month, both Wicker and Hyde-Smith introduced amendments to protect individuals from IRS overreach.

Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell introduced S.1777, which is cosponsored by 43 Republican Senators.

The bill is endorsed by American Commitment, Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, Association of Mature American Citizens, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Club for Growth, Freedom Works, Heritage Action for America, Institute for Free Speech, National Taxpayers Union, and People United for Privacy. (Read endorsement statements here.)

To review the text of the Don't Weaponize the IRS Act, click here.