TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, June 3, 2016

The IRS Scandal, Day 1121

IRS Logo 2U.S. News & World Report:  The IRS Impeachment Farce: Republicans Are Just Scoring Political Points, Not Actually Trying to Improve the Tax Collecting Agency, by Pat Garofalo (Assistant Managing Editor, U.S. News & World Report):

For years now, House Republicans have been waging a seemingly endless crusade to bring the IRS to heel for, well, something or other.

Once upon a time, the foundation of the case against America's tax collecting agency was that it had allegedly singled out for undue scrutiny conservative groups that were applying for tax-exempt status. Any actual principles at stake, though, have long since been lost among a haze of accusations, subpoenas, faux hearings, contempt votes and, currently, an attempt to impeach IRS chief John Koskinen, who was not even an IRS employee at the time of the misdeeds Republicans are apparently so irate about.

There were assuredly some bad decisions made by the IRS back before the "targeting" issue broke, though the context at the time – a flood of applications from tea party-type organizations supposedly incensed at Obama-era policy, alongside more and more money pouring into the political system following the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling – lends credence to the theory that the "targeting" was more about clunky attempts at efficiency than partisan politicking. If that episode had ended in something productive, though, then fair enough. The whole brouhaha might have done a bit of good.

But the GOP's current actions leave little doubt that, if there was ever an actual issue worth highlighting here, it has long since been eclipsed by electoral point-scoring at the expense of an arm of the government that's very easy to turn into a political punching bag.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/06/the-irs-scandal-day-1121.html

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Comments

The worm is turning. When USN&WR editorializes against the Republicans on an issue, they had better pay attention.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jun 3, 2016 5:32:20 AM

Seriously? Publius, that makes as much sense as saying "When Fox News editorializes against the Democrats on an issue, they had better pay attention."
USN&WR is pretty much identical to the rest of the MSM...maybe even a little farther left

Posted by: sigh | Jun 3, 2016 6:20:17 AM

And whenever the GOP wins back the executive branch and similarly slow walks, attempting to run out the clock by destroying evidence, disregarding subpoenas and flooding the zone with subterfuge ('we spent 18 million dollars not looking for backup tapes') I'm sure this managing editor will give the Dems the same 'just roll over and take it' advice.

Posted by: WampusCat | Jun 3, 2016 8:12:23 AM

Always consider the source, especially with an editorial:

"Pat Garofalo is Economic Policy Editor for ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Pat’s work has also appeared in The Nation, U.S. News & World Report, The Guardian, the Washington Examiner, and In These Times. He has been a guest on MSNBC and Al-Jazeera television, as well as many radio shows. Pat graduated from Brandeis University, where he was the editor-in-chief of The Brandeis Hoot, Brandeis’ community newspaper, and worked for the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life."

Having considered the source, and then reading his editorial, journalistic bias by omission of the facts becomes even more evident.

Posted by: MM | Jun 3, 2016 8:59:42 AM

If the GOP were serious about this, they would have done it last year. They're political cowards who really are only using this piece of nothing for some election year publicity. They won't impeach Koskinen, even though he deserves it, because they're afraid they'll lose the crooked politician vote or something.

Posted by: bflat879 | Jun 3, 2016 9:49:53 AM

For the sake of argument, let say this was all incompetence and not malfeasance.

That alone should put shivers up everyones spines, because it demonstrates how out of control our bureaucrats and agencies are. There seems to be no good way to hold them accountable.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Jun 3, 2016 11:14:13 AM

They went too far, so it's fine for us to go to far.

Is this a good description of the argument?

Posted by: Henry | Jun 3, 2016 11:55:26 AM

I believe that John Koskinen was the gentleman who lied at Congressional hearings. His impeachment is long overdue.
http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2014/11/koskinen-lied-30000-lois-lerner-emails-recovered-by-irs-inspector-general/

Posted by: Chief | Jun 3, 2016 9:41:13 PM

Mr. sigh: Are you serious? Comparing USN&WR to Faux News? The former is a somewhat right of center, but it actually reports news and proffers reasonable, if rather conservative, editorials. The same cannot be said about the latter.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jun 4, 2016 6:25:31 AM

@bflat For reasons I have never been able to figure out, the Republicans are scared to death of President Obama. McCain couldn't do it. Romney couldn't do it. Boehner couldn't do it. McConnell couldn't do it. Cruz was the only one, and look where that got him.

Whatever bad you can say about President Obama (and I can say a lot), you have to admit he never hid his agenda. All you have to do is read his book about his father, and you will understand everything he has done. Simply put, the President is an anti-colonialist. He lives in the late 19th-early 20th century.

But still the Republicans run away from him, not at him. He got elected in 2008 because the country was sick of Bush's war in Iraq. Unfortunately, despite winning the Nobel, he has been a war president.

But do you hear anything about this from the Republicans, including Trump? I don't. He is truly the Teflon president. I predict this whole IRS scandal is going to go away, regardless of who becomes the next president.

Posted by: Dale Spradling | Jun 4, 2016 6:34:52 AM

You can't take Publius too seriously, he works(ed) for the people responsible for the IRS abusing Americans. You get a definite vibe from his endless claims the IRS did the right thing, that he would have taken part in the pogrom willingly and with vigor.

Posted by: Wodun | Jun 4, 2016 11:24:09 AM

Mr. Spradling: Let's hope the President is an anti-colonialist. After all, that has been an unchanging pillar of U.S. foreign policy since 1776.
Mr. wodun: The argumentum ad hominem is a logical fallacy. Look it up.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jun 4, 2016 3:34:27 PM