Are IRS agents writing Federal legislation?
Via Josh Marshall comes more GOP passing the buck on the Istook Amendment:
WASHINGTON – Sen. Ted Stevens on Monday showed reporters a handwritten legislative proposal from an IRS employee that slipped into and nearly stopped the massive appropriations bill passed by Congress this weekend. Stevens said the note proves that neither he nor any other Republican had crafted the potentially privacy-invading language. The language, which could allow certain congressional employees to look at tax returns, created a furor on the Senate floor Saturday when discovered…Given the speed of the work, few people, if any, had read the whole bill by the time it came to the Senate floor Saturday evening. But it was too late for amendments because the House had already passed the bill. Stevens said the IRS provision had been cleared by senior Democratic staff members, along with Republican staff. He has the e-mails to prove it, he said. So when other senators criticized him for sneaking it into the bill, even after he explained what happened, he blew up, he said. “God that made me mad,” Stevens said Monday. He acknowledged that the language had entered the bill because of a “breakdown of our procedure.” No senator actually looked at the language before it was inserted, he said.
I don’t know which is worse – the GOP trying to let the Congressmen look at our tax returns or letting some rogue IRS employee write Federal legislation.