TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 773

IRS Logo 2Fox, The IRS Mystery Man Calling the Shots:

When it comes to the targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service, the media has focused its attention on Lois Lerner, who oversaw the tax agency’s Exempt Organizations Unit. But they may want to pay more attention to William Wilkins, the IRS chief counsel, whose office, according to sources, had unprecedented involvement in applications for tax exempt status and the special scrutiny of conservative applications.

Wilkins is one of just two of the tax agency’s roughly 90,000 employees who was appointed by the White House, according to reports.  He came to the IRS in 2009 from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, where he had worked as a lobbyist since 1988. At WilmerHale, as the firm is now called, he was part of the tax practice group and as part of his responsibilities he advised nonprofit organizations on tax compliance. Prior to that, Wilkins served as staff counsel to the Democratic side of the Senate Finance Committee from 1981 to 1988.

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, who is suing the IRS to force the issuance of emails related to the tax exempt scandal, is highly critical of Wilkins. He says, “The counsel’s office was up to its neck in tea party targeting. I don’t understand why he is still there.” Wilkins also led the defense team of former Obama pastor Jeremiah Wright and Trinity United Church of Christ in 2008, when it faced an IRS probe regarding its tax exempt status.

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Comments

The IRS remains thick with highly partisan Democrats. The mystery to me is why the Republican party hasn't empaneled a select committee to investigate these high crimes and find out the relationship between the IRS and White House. It's almost as though the GOP leadership wants to bury this criminality. I wonder why?

Posted by: VoteOutIncumbents | Jun 21, 2015 9:20:31 AM

@VoteOutIncumbents - My thoughts exactly.

Posted by: Dale Spradling | Jun 22, 2015 6:56:17 AM

Mr. VOI: No select panel has been impaneled because the tax writing committees have seen all of the documents, in unredacted form. And there is no criminality to bury.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jun 23, 2015 7:40:32 AM