Paul L. Caron

Monday, November 24, 2014

The IRS Scandal, Day 564

IRS Logo 2Daily Caller:  How to Ensure The IRS Never Abuses Its Powers Again:

It is not so much whether or when or why the IRS abused its authority by targeting Tea Party and conservative groups. We know by now the answers are: of course, over a period of year, and to aid the re-election of President Obama.

Going forward, the most important question is: How can we prevent it from happening again? The answer may be more complicated than we think. ...

The evidence proves the IRS was used as an abusive political tool to hobble or destroy as many organizations as possible that opposed President Obama’s agenda. The partisan media may continue to suppress this fact, but the denial that it happened at all is growing more absurd by the day. Journalists raised to never trust anyone over the age of 30 now seem to accept any excuse – no matter how implausible – to explain away the scandal.

Once the problem came to light, the director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division claimed to have “lost” her emails. At the same time, the IRS was known to sanction individuals for not maintaining seven years of receipts. Would the New York Times have accepted this excuse from the Koch Brothers? ...

[W]hat the IRS did to Tea Party organizations is tyranny personified and it cannot be ignored or forgiven, because it can happen to anyone who opposes the policies of the powerful. ...

This controversy presents us with an opportunity to remove the Internal Revenue Service from political influence altogether. Anyone who respects the separation of powers, regardless of whether they are conservative, liberal, moderate, libertarian or anything else, ought to see the wisdom in separating IRS enforcement and presidential appointments.

Appointments by the president are, by and large, intended to mirror his political decisions. The IRS, however, is different. Because of its massive power and essentially unlimited authority, it must be more than fair – it must be 100 percent non-political. Even if this is unattainable, every attempt must be made.

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Almost fell out of my chair after reading Mr. Warren’s proposal. Laughing. First, he says the best thing about his proposal is that it will not require a constitutional amendment. Only if we ignore Art. I, § 2, cl. 2, the so-called “Appointments Clause,” which requires that all appointments not otherwise designated in the constitution shall be made by the president. Second, even if appointments constitutionally could be made by a bunch of governors, ask yourself who are the MOST partisan public officials in the United States today? The answer, of course, is Chicago city aldermen. Governors come in a close second, however. Last, the problem with the IRS wasn’t caused by partisanship or political gamesmanship in the commissioner’s appointment. The IRS § 501(c)(4) BOLO problem that we loosely refer to as the IRS “scandal” originated and matured in a Democratic presidential administration, under Commissioner Shulman, a Republican commissioner appointed by a Republican president and confirmed by a Democratic senate in the prior Republican administration. In other words, an entirely bi-partisan occurrence completely unrelated to partisanship that could be cured by Mr. Warren’s modest and misguided proposal.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Nov 24, 2014 6:26:38 AM