Paul L. Caron

Friday, April 22, 2016

The IRS Scandal, Day 1079

IRS Logo 2New York Times, I.R.S. Fights Back Against House Republicans’ Attacks:

For five years, congressional Republicans have taken out their anti-tax wrath on the Internal Revenue Service, cutting its budget by nearly $1 billion, reducing its staff by about 17,000, and even threatening to impeach its chief.

Now they say no one at the agency receives a bonus until customer service improves. And that measure, which the Republican-controlled House easily passed Thursday, was just one of six anti-I.R.S. measures that it approved this week, mostly by party-line votes, to mark the annual tax-filing deadline.

To supporters of the agency — and there are some — years of such attacks have yielded exactly what Republicans seemed to want: a depleted, defanged tax collector.

“I’m appalled, that’s all I can say,” said Lawrence B. Gibbs, a tax lawyer at Miller & Chevalier who joined the I.R.S. during the Nixon administration and was President Ronald Reagan’s choice for commissioner in 1986. “It’s fine to demonize the I.R.S. It has always been a target. Listen, that goes with the job.”

But, he added, given the nation’s challenges, “the one thing people ought to agree on is that we should have a revenue system that works and works well.”

“And if we’re going to create a disrespect for our tax revenue system,” he continued, “I look at it and say I just don’t think it’s in our country’s best interest.”

House Republicans even gave this week a name, “I.R.S. Week,” though the lines of attack began last week, and were many. In debate, multiple hearings (the I.R.S. commissioner, John Koskinen, testified four times over eight days), news conferences and commentary in the news media, the agency even got the blame for the hated tax code, which Congress writes and Republicans have promised for five years to rewrite and simplify.

“Right now, we have a tax code that no one can understand being enforced by an agency that no one trusts,” said Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, who was the chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee before taking the House’s top job last fall.

As certain as death and taxes, tax season political attacks on the I.R.S. go back decades. But in recent years, the intensity has grown and the agency’s funding in turn shrank more than any other time in memory. The campaign gained strength in 2013, when Republicans seized on management failures to allege that I.R.S. employees had singled out conservative groups for greater scrutiny and delays in reviewing their applications for tax-exempt status as “social welfare” organizations, though liberal-leaning groups were examined as well, investigations showed.

The assaults and especially the funding cuts have reached a point that the agency’s defenders are speaking out.

IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink


Dumbest thing in the world when we need money and cheaters are running rampant. No one in corporate america would cut their accounts receivable department. Why should the government?

Posted by: Sid | Apr 22, 2016 6:52:41 PM

A) The actions of the IRS brought well deserved disrespect.
B) Bonuses are not entitlements.

Posted by: Wodun | Apr 22, 2016 5:34:01 PM

If the IRS had not accommodated every Administration request to bend the law past the breaking point on Obamacare and on illegal aliens these complaints would be persuasive. But the IRS cannot take partisan actions without suffering partisan reaction.

Posted by: AMT buff | Apr 22, 2016 11:09:25 AM

The only 'management failure' was a certain manager's failure to testify for fear of criminal prosecution.

Posted by: OTOH | Apr 22, 2016 10:24:19 AM

"... in 2013, when Republicans seized on management failures to allege that I.R.S. employees had singled out conservative groups for greater scrutiny ..."

There is nothing alleged about it. The IRS admitted to it and apologized.

Posted by: Neo | Apr 22, 2016 8:53:00 AM

Payback is a byatch. (and well deserved)

Posted by: trout | Apr 22, 2016 7:54:21 AM