Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 888

IRS Logo, GAO: IRS Still Lacks Safeguards to Prevent Political Targeting:

In the wake of revelations Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents unfairly targeted certain non-profit organizations for enhanced compliance scrutiny, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a new report detailing IRS’ failure to enact safeguards preventing future instances of unequal scrutiny.

Beginning in 2010, employees of IRS’ Exempt Organizations division, under the supervision of division Director Lois Lerner, violated IRS policies by singling out organizations for special examination based on a group’s name or policy positions with the aim of slowing or preventing the ability of conservative organizations to receive tax-exempt donations in the run-up to the 2012 elections.

Despite prior GAO documentation of IRS internal policy violations, IRS policies still do little to prevent unfairness in the agency’s operations.

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, says lawmakers must continue to pressure IRS to change its ways.

“It’s an old IRS ploy where they come in and say, ‘We agree with the findings, and we agree to make these changes,’ but then they never […] make the changes,” Roskam said. “So, we are going to continue to do the oversight necessary to keep this in the minds of the American public, and to make sure the IRS knows we are watching them.”

Roskam says Lerner, who resigned with a full federal pension after refusing to testify before Congress about her division’s actions, may yet be prosecuted for her role in the scandal. ...

Bruce Yandle, dean emeritus of Clemson University’s College of Business and Behavioral Science, says public choice theory explains IRS’ failure to correct its policies. “Basically, public choice theory states that elements of political behavior are predictable when viewed through the lens of economics,” Yandle said. “The old adage ‘Keep your eye on the money—where it comes from, and where it goes,’ will help you understand the different actions that take place politically.” ...

Weaponized Enforcement.  Yandle says government agencies can be expected to protect those it perceives as a friend and attack those it considers to be an enemy. ... In 1999, a study was done on political influences in the IRS by examining rates at which the IRS engages in audits. Examining the data during the [President Bill] Clinton period, the investigators found, systematically, that the IRS frequently had audits in those places where people did not behave well toward Bill Clinton.”

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"Now the IRS relies upon more basic mathematical tools to group applications and select audits–like, we have way too many 501(c)(4) applications,"

OFA begs to differ.

"Those methods are less efficient and subject to abuse."

It was an intentional decision to use the IRS to go persecute Jewish, pro-life, Tea Party, and other groups that Democrats hate.

The problem isn't the system, its the Democrat operatives in the system.

Posted by: wodun | Oct 14, 2015 11:22:55 AM

Thanks for your continued efforts in keeping this situation in the public eye.

Posted by: Nbpundit | Oct 14, 2015 8:04:09 AM

Back in the 1980s, the IRS used the Taxpayer Compliance Measurement Program to gather large amounts of tax data from U.S. taxpayers. TCMP subjected a small, random number of taxpayers to extensive audits. The IRS analyzed the resulting data, and then used algorithms and other mathematical tools to select returns for audit. The TCMP program was advanced for its time and provided a relatively efficient, rational, and strictly non-partisan basis for the selection of returns for audit. Nevertheless, the random audits upset conservatives, mainly Republicans, who essentially outlawed TCMP in the late 1980s. Since the audit selection program relied upon continuously updated data–the collection of which Republicans legislatively prohibited–TCMP gradually lost effectiveness and was subsequently abandoned. Now the IRS relies upon more basic mathematical tools to group applications and select audits–like, we have way too many 501(c)(4) applications, so let’s group them together by key terms. Those methods are less efficient and subject to abuse. You get what you pay for.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Oct 14, 2015 6:45:51 AM