WASHINGTON -- The controversy surrounding the IRS' targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status is, if nothing else, an easy target. Virtually no one has defended the actions of the tax-collection agency, including its outgoing acting commissioner. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) came the closest, and he merely noted that prior IRS-related controversies never elicited Republican outrage.
Over the weekend, the pile-on extended to the states, where local officials asked 501(c)4 non-profit groups in their districts to come forward with stories of abuse they endured at the hands of the IRS. The most assertive push to get in front of the story came in Illinois, where on Friday two state representatives introduced legislation instructing the White House to comply with congressional investigations into the agency.
"[W]e urge the White House, the Office of the United States Secretary of the Treasury, and the Internal Revenue Service to comply with all requests related to Congressional inquiries without any delay, including making available all IRS employees involved in designing and implementing these prohibited political screenings," the bill reads.
"[A]nd be it further RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be delivered to the President of the United States, the Secretary of the Treasury, the acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate Majority Leader, and each member of the Illinois,"
The bill was introduced by Republican state Reps. Darlene Senger and David McSweeney. It's unclear what type of authority they believe they have over congressional activities, or whether anyone on the Hill is aware of their resolution. Neither office returned a request for comment.
But symbolic bills are often the most popular. By the time of its introduction, Senger and McSweeney's bill already had 11 other co-sponsors.