GOP proposes SPOCC Act in response to IRS Star Trek video

A new GOP bill in the House has a message for the IRS: Live long and prosper, but not on the taxpayers' dime.

ADVERTISEMENT
On Thursday, House GOP Chief Deputy Whip Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) proposed the SPOCC Act, which seeks to stop the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from spending millions on wasteful junkets. 

The bill is partly a response to a 2010 video the IRS made that parodies Star Trek, and which featured Faris Fink, who runs the Small Business and Self-Employed Division at the IRS, playing Mr. Spock of Star Trek.

Roskam's bill is the Stop Playing on Citizen's Cash Act, or the SPOCC Act, and it would require the IRS to live by Treasury Department recommendations on conference spending.

The SPOCC Act is just one of several bills Roskam proposed on Thursday in response to IRS spending, but also the IRS's admission that it applied extra scrutiny to conservative groups seeking tax exempt status.

"Practically every day there's news of a new scandal at the IRS, and unfortunately it seems the administration is incapable of getting the IRS under control and restoring faith in the agency," Roskam said Thursday. "The targeting of individuals by the IRS based on their political and social beliefs cuts to the core of American's trust in government, and it's time to institute reforms in order to protect taxpayers from further abuse."

Another of Roskam's bills, the Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Act (H.R. 2531), would block the IRS from inquiring about the religious or political beliefs of an individual or group. The IRS admitted to applying extra scrutiny to groups that tend to be conservative, such as those with the words "Tea Party" in their name.

A related bill, the Integrity Restoration Strategy Act, would reform the way the IRS handles groups that apply for tax-exempt status. Under this bill, H.R. 2532, groups would automatically obtain tax-exempt status if they have not heard back from the IRS after certain length of time.

Several groups complained that applications from conservative groups sometimes languished for years, while applications from liberal groups were approved quickly.

Roskam's Taxpayer Transparency and Efficient Audit Act, H.R. 2530, would require the IRS to tell taxpayers when it shares their information with other government agencies, and limit the length of audits.

Finally, Roskam proposed a resolution calling for a Taxpayers Bill of Rights, which says taxpayers should have the right to appeal audits and the right to confidentiality, among others.

More in House

Pelosi ambushes GOP with Confederate flag resolution

Read more »