Congressman Luke Messer Co-Sponsors Taxpayer Nondiscrimination & Protection Act

Press Release

Date: May 15, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congressman Luke Messer signed on as a co-sponsor to the Taxpayer Nondiscrimination and Protection Act of 2013.

"The reports that the IRS targeted conservative not-for-profits is troubling to say the least," said Messer. "In a free society, justice is supposed to be blind, regardless of political persuasion or ideology."

The legislation seeks to strengthen taxpayer protections in current law by making it a crime for IRS employees to execute the sort of targeted discrimination revealed by the IRS last week. The bill would increase the maximum penalty for discrimination from mere termination to a criminal punishment, allowing the federal government to impose a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment of up to five years, or both.

This makes the maximum penalty the same for an IRS employee as it is for a member of the President's cabinet who directs an employee to take that sort of action. The Taxpayer Nondiscrimination and Protection Act also expressly states that political speech and political expression are rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

"The American people need to be confident that the IRS isn't playing politics with our tax returns," Messer concluded. "And if someone working at the IRS violates this principle, they should be punished."