Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The IRS Scandal, Day 286

IRS Logo 2Chicago Tribune editorial:  The IRS Targets Political Speech Again:

The Internal Revenue Service is used to being universally disliked every April 15. But this year, the widespread denunciations have started early, and for good reason.

In November, the agency issued proposed new rules that are supposed to keep social welfare organizations from abusing their legal privileges by engaging in excessive electioneering. The effort came in response to complaints from Democrats about a 2012 surge in political spending by such tax-exempt groups, by the conservative Koch brothers and others to influence elections.

The IRS wants to curb such efforts, and it doesn't display much concern about the likely effect on free speech. But groups that engage in political advocacy, including the nonpartisan kind, are genuinely alarmed. ...

The agency does not get, or deserve, the benefit of the doubt in this realm — if only because it got caught targeting certain conservative organizations. In considering requests for tax-exempt status, it singled out groups with the term "tea party" or "patriot" in their names for extra scrutiny.

IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink


Dear Mr. Townsend,
I note that you continue to raise the subject of Obama’s involvement in this, something I have not done, alleging that that is my real agenda. You keep bringing up Obama, I’m interested in the political scandal at the IRS. This, you will note, is what you accuse me of – finding a conclusion without proof. Well, you need facts to get to a conclusion and it’s hard to get facts when the subject won’t cooperate.
Note that I have not concluded anything but that more investigation is needed. To be brief, a lawyer in a policy office at the Treasury Department is not a “rogue agent in Cincinnati.” So we need more information. The complete lack of attention shown to this issue by most of the mainstream media, the continued obfuscation by the IRS itself, the dithering investigation by a political supporter within the DOJ, and the endless “no scandal” mantra of persons who readily identify themselves as Obama supporters, all cry out for more answers. Remember, it took two years for Watergate to come to fruition and that was with the help of a press corp that was doing its job.
You also seem to have an unusual reverence for the IRS and its employees, without qualification, and accuse me of besmirching its good name. This is apparently news to you but it has no good name and is generally reviled (only tax professionals like us actually enjoy telephone calls from the IRS). There are indeed “good” people there but I have met more than a few at various levels of the IRS and at DOJ Tax who revile wealthy people and conservative principles. That is also why, in part, I prefer to remain anonymous so as not to drag my clients into this.
Finally, I find it disturbing that you continue your argument ad hominem by comparing me to Senator McCarthy. Since you seem to rely on ad hominem attacks instead of facts, I will not further reply to any of your posts.

Posted by: TexEcon | Feb 19, 2014 3:23:52 PM


I think the email speaks for itself. I will just make a couple of comments.

I suspect but do not know that the plan is the annual plan. That is an uncertain inference you make. But, in any event, the IRS undertakes all sorts of initiatives within its area of responsibility that are not part of the annual plan. I hope all agencies do, but I know the IRS does. So, even if they were considering an off-plan initiative that says nothing about impropriety and it certainly does not get anywhere close to Obama.

I am indeed concerned about the IRS. I am concerned when people like you with political agendas trash a very good agency and good people. (In my view, this is the same type of conduct that Senator McCarthy did earlier, and for the same underlying purposes.) Your claim is, at bottom, that Ms. Madrigal, Ms. Lerner and others were engaged in a conspiracy and committed other unethical acts and crimes. You have no basis for that claim -- at least none that you have identified.

I believe that the IRS is a very good agency with highly dedicated people as a whole and does a great service to this country. We as citizens disserve our great country when we suffer McCarthyites to trash good people and a good agency.

Still, I am open to proof. The problem with your proof is that it is not proof. I do know proof when I see it. That is not proof.

So, I do care about our country and the IRS. If you felt the same way, you might consider awaiting proof before you trash the agency and people. But, then it probably is not the agency you want to trash, it is Obama you want to trash. The IRS and these people are just collateral damage in the quest to trash Obama.

At least that is the way I see it. I would disserve you and any readers of these exchanges by not telling how I see it.

Jack Townsend
[Note that I do not fear saying who I am; I encourage you to come out of the closet; at least McCarthy let the world know who was making the claims he was making.]

Posted by: Jack Townsend | Feb 19, 2014 11:06:41 AM