Tennessee Congressmen plan to introduce IRS abuse legislation

In the wake of the IRS scandal, a pair of Republican Congressmen from Tennessee say they will introduce legislation that would require the federal government to notify any taxpayer whose information or tax returns are accessed by the Internal Revenue Service.

“The IRS violated the First Amendment rights of the American people when it created what amounted to an enemies list of conservatives, including Tennessee Tea Party groups, to keep people quiet,” U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said in a statement. “This legislation will give taxpayers the protection they need to make sure the IRS isn’t using their information in a way that violates their First Amendment rights to speak up and speak out, for political reasons or otherwise.”

Alexander has co-sponsored the “IRS Abuse Protection Act” with U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher , R-Tenn. According to Alexander and Fincher, the legislation would require the U.S. Treasury notify taxpayers in writing every time the IRS accesses their tax accounts, tax returns or other tax return information.

“Across the country, Americans are losing faith in the government as they’re watching the IRS play politics,” Fincher said in a statement. “This blatant violation of the First Amendment is unacceptable and I’m committed to making sure the IRS is never again used as a political weapon against any group, conservative or liberal.”

The two plan to introduce the measure when Congress returns to session. The legislation will likely do little to stem a primary challenge Alexander faces next year.

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