TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, October 7, 2016

The IRS Scandal, Day 1247

IRS Logo 2Forbes: The IRS: A Law Unto Itself, by Bill Archer:

Americans have long had an uneasy relationship with the nation’s tax collector. In the early 1990s, investigative reporter David Burnham wrote an excellent book, “A Law Unto Itself: The IRS and the Abuse of Power” which catalogued a lengthy and continuing history of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) misconduct and mistreatment of taxpayers. This history of misconduct will once again come under close examination later this week as the IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testifies before Congress’ Judiciary Committee to explain the agency’s actions. ...

[R]ecent events make it clear the IRS remains abusive towards taxpayers and often unaccountable. Prior to a 2013 Treasury Inspector Report that would highlight damning IRS misconduct, the IRS head of the tax-exempt organizations group attempted to sneak in an apology for inappropriately flagging conservative organization exemption applications for additional scrutiny. Lois Lerner claimed the practice was initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati. As we now know, that story was false; scrutiny of the conservative groups was directed by Lerner and other high level IRS officials. The IRS to this day continues to stonewall investigations in an attempt to cover their tracks of misconduct.

In early August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in True the Vote, Inc. v. IRS delivered a stinging rebuke to the IRS for attempting to dismiss a lawsuit over an organization’s exemption application. The IRS argued the case was moot because following the 2013 scandal the IRS (it claimed) had ceased its misconduct. The court wrote: “ Parallel to Joseph Heller’s catch, the IRS is telling the applicants in these cases that ‘we have been violating your rights and not properly processing your applications. You are entitled to have your applications processed. But if you ask for that processing by way of a lawsuit, then you can’t have it.’ We would advise the IRS: if you haven’t ceased to violate the rights of the taxpayers, then there is no cessation.”

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Comments

No one else gets off a charge in court by claiming they stopped the illegal activity.

"Judge, I stopped beating the man to death. This means you can't punish me."

Posted by: wodun | Oct 7, 2016 3:53:39 PM

I'll call out Publius on this one, though I don't expect him to respond:

You didn't like facts laid out in the National Review article on True the Vote's targeted harassment by several departments of the federal government, despite the comprehensive reporting that the magazine performed. I'm still waiting for any specific objections you had to the facts presented in the article.

You didn't like the facts laid out by the House Oversight Committee, which produced emails that clearly showed coordination between Lois Lerner and Congressman Elijah Cummings' office in targeting True the Vote. I'm still waiting for any specific objections you had to the facts presented in the press release.

Would you like to add Forbes to the list of sources you reject out of hand because you don't like the facts presented?

Thank you for your open-mindedness, as always!

Posted by: MM | Oct 9, 2016 10:29:54 PM