IRS Commissioner John Koskinen made a pledge before the U.S. Senate's Judiciary Oversight Subcommittee on Wednesday, saying that his agency would not go after the tax-exempt statuses of any religious colleges and universities that oppose same-sex nuptials.
"Will you commit to me that while you remain on as the commissioner ... you will not in the absence of a directive by Congress or by the courts, that you will not take any action to remove the tax-exempt status from religious colleges and universities based on their belief that marriage is between a man and a woman?" Republican Sen. Mike Lee asked Koskinen.
The commissioner affirmatively responded that he would be able to make that commitment, with Lee expressing his deep appreciation for the pledge. Koskinen did go on to explain how such a change would potentially be made beyond his tenure.
"We would issue a regulation ... the Treasury and the IRS issue jointly," he said. "If we ever did that, we would issue it for public comment. There would be no surprises."
Koskinen continued, "The public would have plenty of notice and plenty of opportunity to comment, and that's not going to happen in the next two and a half years."
Watch the commissioner's comments below:
Koskinen did say that he cannot predict the future, seemingly leaving the door open to the fact that tax-exempt statuses could come under fire in the future, pending the directional move of public policy, the Christian Post reported.
Lee's question of Koskinen comes amid fears that the tax-exempt statuses of Christian colleges could be targeted following the Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage earlier this summer.
The testimony came just one day before a federal judge threatened to hold Koskinen in contempt if his agency didn’t provide documents in the manner ordered by the court in the case involving the IRS singling out tea party and conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections.
(H/T: Christian Post)