Rubio says IRS lacks ‘shred of the American people’s confidence,’ leader must goby George Bennett | May 13th, 2013
Amid reports that the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups was known by upper-level officials as far back as 2011, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio today urged Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to demand the resignation of the IRS commissioner.
Rubio’s letter to Lew and the press release put out by Rubio’s office don’t name the IRS commissioner. The agency is now headed Steven Miller, who has served as acting commissioner since November. For the previous six years — which included the time groups with “tea party” and “patriot” in their names were targeted — the IRS was headed by George W. Bush appointee Douglas Shulman.
“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’s letter to Lew says. “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.”
Read the full text of Rubio’s letter after the jump…
Letter from Sen. Marco Rubio to Treasury Sec. Jack Lew regarding the IRS:
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.