Paul L. Caron

Monday, October 12, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 886

IRS Logo 2Forbes:  IRS Scandal Narrative Still Inspires Passion, by Peter J. Reilly:

As something of an amateur historian, my biggest question about the IRS Scandal, which I sometimes refer to as Teapartygate, is how prominent it will be in our historical memory in a few decades. There are certain controversies about particular incidents that become vehicles for ideological freight and achieve a long life at least among the culturally literate. Think of the Dreyfus affair (l’affaire Dreyfus) or the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti . The IRS Scandal certainly has an ideological dimension as it can be portrayed as Washington insiders using the most feared federal agency to intimidate people advocating a return to constitutional values. ...

If there is one place where it is clear that the IRS Scandal is still a thing, it is in Paul Caron’s series which I call the day by day IRS Scandal as since May 13, 2013, the title to the posts have been in the form of The IRS, Scandal  Day X (May 13 was Day 5). The initial post (presumably Day 1) was titled IRS Admits Targeting Conservative Groups in 2012 Election.

Earlier this week I wrote that Professor Caron’s series may have “jumped the shark”.  Although in my first piece, I suggested that it was time to convert it to an archive, after having gone through the whole series, I concluded that what really needed to happen was to have some days, perhaps quite a few, where the entry is nothing to report. ...

Professor Caron’s response to my critique was very classy. My posts were featured as The IRS Scandal, Day 883.  He also included a polling question “Should I Continue My Daily Posts On The IRS Scandal?”.  The results of the poll are The IRS Scandal, Day 884.  Given where the question was asked, it is not at all surprising that the majority was “Yes”.  Arguably it was overwhelming 792 to 86.  The passion of some of the comments was what I found most interesting. ...

Interestingly, the TaxProf, himself, is not exactly an IRS Scandal true believer. On Day 369, Professor Caron wrote:

Step one should be to give Lois Lerner full immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony . And then let the chips fall where they may.

Scandal skeptics take Issa’s refusal to grant Lois Lerner immunity as an indication that his committee was not really interested in finding out the truth.

The other passionate comment that I took note of was by Joe Kristan on his own blog.

 I worry that the administration will succeed in running out the clock on the outrageous IRS misconduct.

Although it appears that Joe and I have similar interests and attitudes and professional experience, I sometimes get hints that he might be just a tad more to the right than I am.  He and I are working on having some sort of IRS Scandal debate, after October 15 (That’s the extended due date for individuals).  Stay tuned.

There have been fairly extensive House and Senate investigations into the core scandal.  The agreed facts that came out of both reports can support narratives of either bureaucratic bumbling or politically biased harassment.  Someone on the left would likely argue that the scandal machine has actually won in that the IRS is neutered, at least for the next election cycle, in enforcing rules that provide some level of transparency in political spending.  On the right, there is still a call for more revelations and somebody being punished.  It looks like you will be able to follow it all on the TaxProf series for the foreseeable future.

IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink


Actually, Church of Scientology is 484 U.S. 9 (1987).

Posted by: Publius Novus | Oct 13, 2015 1:34:32 PM

Mr. TexEcon: To use your language, "[y]our facile protest ignores" IRC 6103. The court dockets of FOIA cases are interesting, but do not indicate obstruction by the IRS. Most of the IRS' lack of transparency is dictated by federal anti-disclosure law, mainly sec. 6103. You obviously do not understand this. Fortunately, most (though not all) of the judges come to grasp the point. Church of Scientology v. IRS, 484 U.S. 1 (1984) is worthwhile reading.

Posted by: Poli Sci Guy | Oct 13, 2015 8:31:52 AM

To "gator": your facile protest ignores reality. It is the Obama Administration, and specifically, the IRS, that is being obstructionist in the investigation of the IRS abuse of process. To wit, peruse any of the court dockets of the FOIA cases resulting from the IRS refusal to produce requested documents.

Posted by: TexEcon | Oct 13, 2015 6:07:09 AM

I see that many think there is something to this "scandal". The only thing proven (to me) thus far is that those on the right have done everything to obstruct any action by this administration. Shame on them.

Posted by: gator | Oct 13, 2015 5:20:08 AM

Impeach Koskinen! Now! And then one by one every bureaucratic fascist that had anything to do with this.

Posted by: DJ | Oct 12, 2015 1:42:09 PM

BTW, when a corrupt DOJ refuses to prosecute despite, e.g., numerous negative Inspector General's reports and obvious obstruction of a Congressional investigation, Congress's only options are exposure and, possibly, impeachment.

Posted by: neelynzus | Oct 12, 2015 11:47:52 AM

Don't forget Jewish and pro-life groups were also victims.

In the context of Obama's deal with Iran to help them get nuclear weapons, the use of government organizations to persecute Jewish groups for years before the deal was public should be big news.

In public, the administration used antisemitic rhetoric after the deal was struck to attack critics but they used government agencies for years to attack Jewish groups under the shroud of government imposed darkness.

Posted by: wodun | Oct 12, 2015 9:25:41 AM

Yes, we will never forget when a President who claimed to be for civil rights was the biggest abuser of them. How isn't that news? How doesn't it capture the attention of our media class?

Short answer is our friends to the left in the media approve of Obama's actions. Democrats have dehumanized their domestic political opponents by inculcating race, gender, class, and other stereotypes to the point where Democrats support any measure, no matter how illegal or unethical, to persecute the monsters they created in their own minds.

Posted by: wodun | Oct 12, 2015 9:19:42 AM