Federal Times Blogs
Over the last few days the IRS has become the focus of the media after evidence that some employees targeted specific political groups seeking a certain type of non-profit status. Lawmakers have called or hearings or the firing of those employees while outside groups have cried foul over their treatment by the IRS.
So what happens now? How bad is it? Is this a major scandal or the standard procedure for IRS enforcement of these tax-exempt groups?
For all of you federal employees out there feel free to chime in about how you feel about the unfolding story or comment anonymously to firstname.lastname@example.org
Concerned Taxpayer Says:
May 14th, 2013 at 2:12 pm
I think it is very important that there be a through outside investigation. Our taxing structure only works if everyone believes and accepts that it is as fair and unbiased as humanly possible. The simple fact is that the IRS holds more information on the American citizens than any other government agency. So I think it is important the public be aware of who knew what and when they knew it. Otherwise the politicians might think it is ok to us the IRS as a political weapon like President Nixon and the presidents before him did.
May 14th, 2013 at 2:33 pm
This is a failure in IRS leadership, plain and simple. The politicos will turn this issue into a circus rather than deal with the specific factors which may need to be addressed throughout the entire Government, and not only in those agencies who get caught (i.e. GSA, IRS, Secret Service).
May 14th, 2013 at 4:55 pm
Every IRS employee involved in this regardless of grade should be fired, charged under RICO and setenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.
Postal Grandma Says:
May 14th, 2013 at 7:59 pm
It is complete nonsense. Doesn’t anyone remember J. Edgar Hoover? Come on people…. the Tea Party funding absolutely SHOULD be given hard scrutiny. The Koch brothers and other radical conservatives are behind the so-called Tea Party (and by the way, since when is it a legitimate party? it’s NOT). The IRS is just doing its job, and this whole thing is a paper tiger designed to discredit this administration and distract from the real problems we all face.
May 15th, 2013 at 3:01 am
grumpy, when I was a revenue officer unfortunately when I was issued cases no one told me it was a result of a punitive audit. A couple of times taxpayers complained to me but I had no way to follow that up. I was on the bottom of the totem pole. You are profoundly naive.
May 15th, 2013 at 4:22 am
Responding to Susan: No, I am not naive at all–I am completely intolerant of corrupt government personnel, regardless of which agency they work for or what their rank/grade is.
I can’t and won’t speak for your particular cases, but it hardly takes a rocket scientist to establsih a clear case of corrupt and illegal activity in the case regarding the harassment of political entities. You would have to be the naive one to believe that even the lowest ranked employee did not know the real reason for these actions.
May 15th, 2013 at 8:10 am
A few years ago a tremendous amount of staff was added to the IRS To “ensure everyone paid their fair share”. Unfortunately, with the existing laws, that meant only scrutinizing certain groups that were not protected due to their not being in the “safe” income brackets (above $250k). Thus, the increases agents now were to focus on what was left – middle & low income and non-profit groups. And they did. They started filters to profile people, including tax software users & political 501s. I’m not sure (1) how this gigantic abuse had gone unnoticed by everyone, & (2) how it was uncovered. Though I would really like the rocks removed under this investigation so that the additional IRS profiling and poor, biased treatment is uncovered.
May 15th, 2013 at 11:09 am
Yes its distrubing what appears to have transpired even though we dont have all the facts. Speaker Boehner says he just wants to know who is going to jail, its too bad he and his fellow republicans didnt say that about those who caused the financial crisis or those who were responsible for the cost over-runs for the F-35 program to the tune of billions. Gimme a break you bunch of hypocrits.
May 15th, 2013 at 3:20 pm
Obviously Obama was wrong when he said he was contrained to do only the right thing. Obama choses not to enforce certain immigration laws, so he’s not constrained. The IRS wasn’t constrained to do the right thing. Big government means lots of chances that the government will treat the average citizen badly.
May 15th, 2013 at 3:46 pm
Responding to Jim,
If you want to punish the source of virtually every F-35-related problem, you need only looki at Congress (every single member) and Pentagon leadership from SECNAV/SECAF upwards. Funding decisions, demands for work to be performed in every state of the union, logistics efficency (that means cost, too, by the way) be damnded. Add in the idiotic decision (questioned by Lockheed, ram-rodded through by Gates) to simultaneously start production while beginning testing did nothing but cause more delays and costly retrofits.
May 15th, 2013 at 9:22 pm
Responding to Grumpy,
Hmmm Congress, arent they the same ones who require the army to continue buying tanks even when the brass said we dont need them…Duh. Let’s not forget the invisible WMD that was in Iraq and the price the nation paid in sons, daughters, fathers and mothers, and our wounded. They wouldnt understand only a few had skin in the game.
General Insight Says:
May 16th, 2013 at 12:09 am
A flat tax would eliminate 75% need of IRS combined with a Post Office service cut to three days a week will result in billions of annual cost savings. Too much wisdom for national leadership, but maybe the average person understands.
May 17th, 2013 at 12:43 pm
If you asked anyone before this story broke if they thought the “Tea Party” was a charity, I doubt anyone would have said, “Oh yeah, they’re definitly a charitable organization”. Most would like say you were kidding.
So I feel that it would be a natural outcome that a Government department meant to confirm charities being charities look hard at the big money “tea party” organizations. I think the failure is the use of the broad net catching and holding to many other, smaller groups, where there was no real conflict.
Finally, I think this is more about political distraction and false indignation that any serious problem or evil intent. Sadly it feeds on the current Repulican hate the Government Employees agenda.
Edwin Arnold Says:
May 17th, 2013 at 12:56 pm
This is a major problem as evidenced by the remarks of “Postal Grandma” above. If a person cannot impartially carry out federal duties without injecting their own personal political beleifs, they’re willfully committing offenses. The FACT that only conservative groups were targeted, proves bias. IRS should have been extremely careful to craft a list that would target potential fraudulent applicants, without targeting any specific type of group.
Remember, if any bias is allowed, the next may target a group you view favorably.
May 17th, 2013 at 1:04 pm
Don’t spew your personal political leanings, address the issue. Should government employees (whatever their personal view) be allowed to use their government authority to discriminate against particular groups? What a different song you’d be singing if the group targeted was one you have a favorable view of.
May 17th, 2013 at 2:21 pm
I think the point that needs to be made is that the IRS should not be used by either side for political purposes “PERIOD”
I still think that there should be an open investigation as to who did what and why, to include any input received from the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Section of the IRS Office of Chief Counsel. I could be wrong but it seems to me that something like this would have had to have input from and/or the approval of the IRS attorneys.
I don’t know about you, but I thought that Congress was responsible for passing the laws and agencies which are part of the Executive Branch writes regulations to implement the statutes. When an agency writes a regulation their actions are governed by many statutes including the Administrative Procedures Act. If the agency followed the law then an investigation would show that they did nothing wrong. If they didn’t follow the law then we have a problem don’t we?
So the question becomes where do we draw a line as to what is and is not acceptable conduct. If both sides want to rebuild the public’s faith in government they need to start working together for the benefit of the citizens of United States and not the individual Republican, Democratic, or any other political party that you want to name.
May 17th, 2013 at 8:28 pm
I’m not surprised the IRS has too much power and control with virtually no one to answer to but maybe the issues at hand will force some congressional laws too control the IRS.
Pat M Says:
May 18th, 2013 at 12:19 am
I think it will give Congress yet another excuse to abuse us Federal employees. They have been hammering away at our pay and benefits for years now. I also think it occurred as a legitimate effort to preclude political organizations from trying to get tax-exempt status as a 501c4 “Social Welfare” organization. What sort of “social welfare” does the Tea Party provide? None that I know of. They exist to sway people to vote a certain way. That’s a political agenda, and should therefore not be granted 501c4 status. IRS employees were trying to find an efficient way to handle the thousands of requests for 501c4. They entered terms that they found often covered political organizations trying to claim tax-exempt status. There wasn’t ANYTHING political about IRS examining these applications.
May 19th, 2013 at 4:24 am
For those posters challenging Tea Party or any political party’s right to petition for 501c3/c4 status: Do your homework. Visit IRS website to review IRS code/publications on this matter. Just might help you avoid foot in mouth disease.
May 19th, 2013 at 8:55 am
Never felt good about the IRS even before the scandal.