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Topics: House of Representatives

Can the IRS be fixed, or should it just be abolished?

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Obamacare,House of Representatives,IRS,First Amendment

Sooner or later, Congress will have to do something concrete to fix the IRS. Reform it, abolish it or replace it, but the status quo can't go on.

That's why it's encouraging to see somebody — in this case members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform — is thinking about what the new IRS should look like.

As Morning Examiner reported in this space Wednesday, a new House Oversight report was made public this week that recommends 15 significant reforms designed to get the the IRS out of politics.

Yes, we can fix IRS

Morning Examiner focused yesterday on the committee report's proposal to create a private right of action against the IRS, thus enabling individual citizens and groups to sue individual employees of the tax agency.

Morning Examiner promised more information today on the reform ideas. Perhaps the most significant among the other 14 reforms are these:

* Replacing the IRS commissioner with a multimember, bipartisan commission.

* Removing the IRS as a regulator of political speech for social-welfare groups.

* Allowing taxpayers, and not the IRS, to control access to their confidential taxpayer information.

* Establishing transparent and objective criteria for scrutiny of applicants.

* Establishing clear and transparent rules for information-collecting purposes.

* Prohibiting political and policy communications between the IRS and Executive Office of the President.

* Removing the IRS from implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Reform IS coming

It's not clear how, or even if, "political and policy communications" between the chief executive and the IRS could or should be prohibited. Lots of potential First Amendment issues would be involved.

But the remainder of these proposals are sufficiently concrete that they are likely to be serious candidates for inclusion in the ultimate House package of IRS reforms.

The full report can be read here and it deserves serious review by folks on all sides of the public discussion inspired by the IRS scandal.

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Columnists/David Freddoso: If Democrats don't like what Obamacare says, they should find the votes to change it.

OpEds/Darrell Issa: It's time to stand up to Russian provocations.

Beltway Confidential/Byron York: House GOP readies bill stop Obama's immigration executive order in advance.

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Mark Tapscott

Executive Editor
The Washington Examiner

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