Garrett Leads Letter to IRS Commissioner on Religious Freedom

Aug 25, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Chairman of the Congressional Constitution Caucus, along with eight of his colleagues sent a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen today.  The letter outlines the deep concerns the Members have about news of the recent IRS dismissal agreement with the Freedom from Religion Foundation.  Additionally, the Members request answers to the following questions:

  1. Provide a copy of any agreement between the IRS and the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
  2. Provide any communications between the IRS and the Freedom from Religion Foundation regarding dismissal of the case.
  3. Why did the IRS agree to dismiss this case without prejudice when it recently won a nearly identical case, and who was the highest ranking official to sign off on the settlement?
  4. How have the IRS regulations in this area changed since the 2009 ruling in U.S. v Living Word Christian Ctr., which deemed them unlawful?
  5. How is the IRS going to enforce the Johnson Amendment without impinging on the First Amendment freedoms of religious leaders?
  6. Other than self-referral by leaders opposed to the Johnson Amendment, how did the IRS find the 99 religious organizations currently under investigation by the “Political Activities Referral Committee,” and how did they decide these organizations merited the use of precious investigative resources?
  7. How much money has been spent by the Political Activities Referral Committee in each of the last fiscal years since 2009?
  8. How much has been spent in total investigating the 99 organizations currently under investigation?
  9. What safeguards are in place to make sure that the IRS does not stifle protected First Amendment speech?

To view the complete letter, click here.