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

Monday, January 9, 2017

The IRS Scandal, Day 1341:  Another View Of The Republicans' Reactivation Of The Holman Rule And Lois Lerner

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The Moderate Voice: Preventing the Upcoming Barbarian Apocalypse, by Hart Williams:

House Republicans this week reinstated an arcane procedural rule that enables lawmakers to reach deep into the budget and slash the pay of an individual federal worker — down to a $1 — a move that threatens to upend the 130-year-old civil service. The Holman Rule, named after an Indiana congressman who devised it in 1876, empowers any member of Congress to offer an amendment to an appropriations bill that targets a specific government employee or program. ...

[W]hat does this mean? Well it means that any congressman or senator (almost exclusively GOP) can, in essence, terminate/eliminate almost any civil service employee who incites their wrath. ...

This is a de facto prescription to overturn ALL regulatory enforcement that the “Free Market” pirates of the House GOP deem “bad for business.” And, for a year, the Republicans in Congress can PURGE the Civil Service of all those “obstructionist” employees who insist on doing their jobs as prescribed by law. Think of what they did to Lois Lerner of the IRS, for example, who only attempted to enforce the charitable regulations of the IRS code. In a little-noted move thereafter, the GOP congress essentially gutted all 501(c)4 provisions, making it perfectly legal to launder dark money with zero accountability for political purposes — a complete overturning of the original intent of Congress in CREATING the section 501 provisions prohibiting charitable activities from being partisan POLITICAL activities, or, in essence, allowing the rich to engage in politics on your dime, Mr. and Mrs. US Taxpayer.

The implications of this “rule” are staggering when you apply the “if this goes on” test to it. And recall that you don’t really need to go after ALL civil service employees to create a chilling effect. Just make a few examples of “uppity” civil servants.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2017/01/the-irs-scandal-day-1341another-view-of-the-republicans-of-the-holman-rule.html

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Comments

Any objections to the use of the Holman Rule presumes that the civil service is truly insulated from politics. Does anybody, other than the usual partisan hacks around here, honestly believe that politics had nothing to do with this? TIGTA was pretty definitive on that point:

https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/congress/congress_05222013.pdf

No mention above of the other chilling effect, when the DOJ publically refuses to seriously investigate any wrongdoing in the Executive Branch, which was their modus operandi under the Obama administration. The worst thing that happened for lying before Congress was a contempt citation.

I'm sure those who were dismissive or in denial of the facts of the targeting scandal will appreciate the precendent that was set, now that a guy like Trump will be running things...

Posted by: MM | Jan 9, 2017 7:01:28 AM

Oh how terrible, the repubs might now actually be able to do something about the corrupt lefties who control the civil service, and even worse get rid of people who dont support the free market. Cant let that happen can we. This idea looks great to me, and this article just tells me they are on exactly the right track.

Posted by: richard40 | Jan 9, 2017 8:28:52 AM

The potential of the Holman Rule is great. Will be used? And if it's NOT used, what will we say -- or do -- about the flaccidity of the GOP caucuses in Congress?

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto | Jan 9, 2017 8:49:42 AM

Republicans should start at the EPA and IRS and DOJ and apply this to Obama political appointees and to any appointees who have wormed their way in to the Civil Service positions in the past 5 years.

Posted by: Anna D | Jan 9, 2017 9:01:57 AM

So, could Congress revoke the government provided portion of her 6 figure retirement. I hope so.

Posted by: amr | Jan 9, 2017 9:02:09 AM

"you don’t really need to go after ALL civil service employees to create a chilling effect. Just make a few examples of 'uppity' civil servants."

Change "uppity" to "partisan hack" and I agree with him 100%.

Posted by: Sondra | Jan 9, 2017 9:17:20 AM

The author goes on like reducing the salary of a civil service employee who was bonkers with partisanship, and Lerner was, to $1 would be a bad thing. Did he write " And, for a year, the Republicans in Congress can PURGE the Civil Service of all those “obstructionist” employees who insist on doing their jobs as prescribed by law." with a straight face? She, and those targeting TEA party conservatives and the like, weren't following the spirit of the law, or following the law in an even-handed fair manner.

Posted by: Milwaukee | Jan 9, 2017 9:37:50 AM

Pretty amusing this guy calling himself the "moderate voice" and then going all apocalyptic on us.

Posted by: binkless | Jan 9, 2017 11:01:29 AM

> a move that threatens to upend the 130-year-old civil service.

Notice how quickly liberals embrace a grand tradition when their opponents propose to do something radical?

Posted by: Reformed Trombonist | Jan 9, 2017 11:11:55 AM

define Civil Servant? Does this include Agency heads and Federal judges (not SCOTUS)?

Posted by: MPA | Jan 9, 2017 12:10:57 PM

Change "uppity" to "partisan hack" and I agree with him 100%.

Posted by: Sondra

Sondra you have to give the guy credit for working a racism slant into his op-ed. Who knew wanting to hold people like Lerner accountable was really racism against black people?

Posted by: wodun | Jan 9, 2017 6:49:28 PM

Somehow his example of Lois Lerner doesn't support the point he's trying to make. Talk about tone deaf.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Jan 10, 2017 4:29:41 AM

The president-elect of the United States claims he will not release his tax returns because he is under audit. Congratulations to the revenue agent who drew that assignment, assuming of course that the P-EOTUS is in fact under audit. Now the Holman Rule will permit the fair-minded members of the Republican caucuses to reduce his or her salary to $1. Welcome to the third world.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jan 12, 2017 1:11:42 PM