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The focus on Capitol
Hill is twofold in dealing with the IRS scandal. First, legislators are working
to find out exactly what happened through IRS document requests, hearings, and
interviews. Second, they are working to make sure a similar incident does not
happen in the future.
"We need to make
certain there's a permanent change not just a window dressing change,"
Representative Michael Turner (R)-Ohio told FOX19.
arms of your government should not be turned on you based upon your political
or religious beliefs and we're trying to prohibit that," he said.
According to Turner,
right now IRS employees who discriminate against taxpayers may be subject to
termination at the discretion of their supervisors. His bill would increase the
penalty further to a $5,000 fine, 5 years in prison, or both.
"Under current law
if the White House had contacted the IRS and told them to target people based
on their political beliefs it would have been a felony," Turner explained. "We
believe that if a supervisor at the IRS does the same it similarly should be a
In the mean time,
both the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Senate
Committee on Finance have asked questions of the IRS to determine if its
mistakes have been fully corrected.
"Now we also have
then stonewalling on these questions," Senator Rob Portman (R)-Ohio said. "And
they're not questions that can't be answered."
Portman told FOX19
during a visit to D.C. that the IRS had answered some of the 41 critical
questions his committee requested, but not all.
"We just want the
answers," he said. "We just want to get to the bottom of this."
The third prong to
the effort of ensuring the IRS is back on track is the Inspector General for
Tax Administration's list of nine recommendations for the IRS included in his
May 14th report.
"The IG has
made some great recommendations," representative Elijah Cummings (D)-Maryland
said. "I think if we move on those recommendations, deal with those
recommendations, we'll be fine."