By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Congressman Jo Bonner (R) from Mobile said in a written statement on Friday that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is disconnected from mainstream America and has been abusing its power.
Representative Bonner said that the IRS, “Epitomizes what’s wrong with a Washington bureaucracy that’s largely disconnected from mainstream America and public scrutiny.” Rep. Bonner said that the IRS, “Has been grilled for its misuse of power in slow-walking applications and denying tax exempt status to certain organizations, which didn’t pass its political litmus test. The abuse was admitted by the IRS’s own officials and confirmed by the Treasury’s inspector general’s office. This bureaucratic breach of public trust underscores why Congress should vigorously exercise its legal authority to investigate and hold the Executive Branch accountable.”
Rep. Bonner continued, “Last week, on the same day an Alabama tea party representative testified before the House Ways and Means Committee that her group had been deliberately intimidated by the IRS, the Treasury’s tax inspector general released a report detailing “excessive spending” at a 2010 California conference attended by 2,600 IRS employees. According to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s press release, “Certain of the IRS’s expenses associated with the Anaheim conference do not appear to be a good use of taxpayer funds.” Bonner said that the House is currently investigating the IRS’s targeting of conservative organizations in Alabama and other states. Bonner said that he has called for Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to provide a full explanation of how happened.
Rep. Bonner said that the misuse of government power to push political agendas is only part of the limit of overreach of the federal bureaucracy. Bonner said. “Federal regulations are taking over our lives and strangling small businesses like an infestation of South Alabama kudzu.” Bonner said that the total cost of new federal regulations implemented by Obama’s administration at $1.8 trillion in 2012 and total federal regulations have reached 175,000 pages, costing the average household $14,800 in lost economic activity.
Rep. Bonner said, “In a recent op-ed published in The Washington Post, George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley labeled the steady growth of the federal bureaucracy as threat to our democracy. “Our carefully constructed system of checks and balances is being negated by the rise of a fourth branch, an administrative state of sprawling departments and agencies that govern with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency.”” “In recent years we have seen the Obama administration pursuing more federal rule making, particularly within the Environmental Protection Agency, as a way to implement its agenda without the approval of Congress.”
Bonner proposed that Congress combat this by passing the Regulations from the Executive in the Need of Scrutiny Act (REINS) Act which would require that all federal agencies submit their major regulations to Congress for a vote before they can be enacted. Bonner has cosponsored the REINS Act which would require that all federal regulations and rules deemed to have an economic impact of $100 million or more according to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) be decided on by Congress. Senator Rand Paul (R) from Kentucky has introduced a similar bill in the Senate.
The REINS Act will have to pass the Republican controlled U.S. House, then go to the Democratic controlled U.S. Senate. It is passes the Senate, it seems unlikely the President Barack H. Obama would sign legislation which would limit his own power.
Congressman Josiah (Jo) Bonner represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. Rep. Bonner is retiring from Congress in August.