"Having run a 501(c)(3) organization, I recognize the danger with this kind of targeting by the IRS," Flake said. "We cannot allow it to continue, regardless of the political party in power. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior from our government."


The bill, S. 937, would specifically bar the IRS from "developing or using any methodology that applies disproportionate scrutiny to any applicant based on the ideology expressed in the name or purpose of the organization."

The bill is a reaction to the IRS's admission that it more closely scrutinized groups with "Tea Party" or "patriots" in their name. Those words prompted IRS officials in Ohio to more closely examine whether these groups deserved their tax-exempt status — officials also looked at groups with names dealing with educating the public about the Constitution.

Flake's bill would also require the IRS to report to Congress about the number of complaints it receives about "disproportionate scrutiny" in the process of applying for tax-exempt status. Flake's bill would take effect six months after being signed into law.

Earlier in the day, Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official McConnell faces conservative backlash over Trump criticism MORE (R-Ky.) introduced a resolution that called for the firing of IRS officials involved in the targeting of conservative groups. Paul's proposal also called for an independent investigation of the IRS scandal.

And on Monday, Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) proposed a bill that would make political targeting by the IRS a crime subject to fines up to $5,000 and prison terms up to five years.