Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Following up on last week's post, Sen. Grassley Demands Accounting From IRS Whistleblower Office: Forbes, Keep Heat On IRS Commissioner Shulman; Whistleblowers Needed to Uncover Offshore Tax Abuses:
Senator Charles Grassley sent a strongly worded letter last week to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman criticizing the IRS for the way it is handling various aspects of its whistleblower program. He also blasted the IRS for sending more than a dozen IRS officials – including the director of the IRS Whistleblower Office — to a prominent conference in Miami concerning offshore financial centers.
Whistleblowers and taxpayers are fortunate to have an ardent champion in Sen. Grassley who has consistently pushed and pressured the IRS to engage and reward whistleblowers. But attacking the IRS Whistleblower Office director for attending this particular conference overlooks the value of his presence there. It would be better to keep the fire directed at the top of the IRS rather than at Stephen Whitlock, the IRS Whistleblower Office director, who struggles to make the whistleblower program a success in spite of a hostile bureaucracy and shifting internal policies that undercut creation of a robust program.
There are many critical problems plaguing the IRS whistleblower program. But the attendance of the director of the Whistleblower Office at the Offshore Alert conference in Miami is not one of them.