Paul L. Caron
Dean


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The IRS Scandal, Day 1252

IRS Logo 2USA Today editorial, Impeachment Won't Reform IRS:

You have to give a band of conservative Republicans known as the House Freedom Caucus credit for one thing: No matter how bad one of their ideas is, they never quit.

Right now, they’re battling the Obama administration, House Democrats, their own leadership and Republican moderates to push a futile and absurd effort to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. ...

While the allegations against Koskinen are serious, wiser Republicans know they are not the stuff of impeachment. In fact, the underlying issue that has driven impeachment goes back years: the agency’s misuse of its immense powers to target conservative groups. It occurred before Koskinen was even at the agency.

He was brought in to clean up the mess after revelations in 2013 that the agency’s tax-exempt division had singled out conservative organizations, including Tea Party groups, because of their political beliefs. The IRS sent the groups burdensome inquiries and delayed their applications for tax exemption, actions that President Obama acknowledged were “intolerable and inexcusable.”

Congress investigated, and high-level officials were forced out. The FBI also investigated but found no criminal wrongdoing, a finding Republicans have found hard to swallow.

Certainly, the public deserves to know exactly what happened, see the relevant records, and be convinced that it won't happen again. Instead, Koskinen’s “cleanup” has raised more suspicions. It has been marred by disappearing emails and bungled searches for backups. Federal court rulings excoriated the agency for secrecy.

A few months ago, the agency was still stonewalling. In March, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals  blasted the IRS for resisting “at every turn” a judge’s orders to disclose a list  of the groups targeted. And just last month, a federal appeals court in the nation’s capital revived a lawsuit against the IRS by conservative groups that had been targeted. A three-judge panel cited the agency’s own admission that two groups still had not gotten their tax exemption, years  after seeking it. The IRS’ excuse? Because the groups had sued the agency.

Republicans have good reason to want the IRS to come clean and release any documents that shed light on what happened. But impeachment of a man who wasn't even there when the scandal occurred? No. ...

There are plenty of things the IRS needs — more money to provide better customer service and combat ID fraud, a simpler tax code to administer, and reforms to ensure it will never again target anybody for political beliefs. Republicans would do better to turn to the serious work of governing than to press a frivolous impeachment vote.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/10/the-irs-scandal-day-1251.html

IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink

Comments

"There are plenty of things the IRS needs... reforms to ensure it will never again target anybody for political beliefs."

That sounds great on paper, but there's an awful lack of detail as to how to make that happen. Given that federal employees are union members, where political donations probably go 90% in one direction, you'd think that would be the place to start...

Posted by: MM | Oct 12, 2016 6:17:08 AM

Yes, what the IRS needs is reform. But that won’t happen without a commitment to even-handed and reasonably efficient application of the tax laws. The American people deserve that much.

The highest levels of the administration and the IRS are now committed only to denial, obfuscation for the benefit of the powerful, and abuse of those with inconvenient politics. Until reality begins to sink in, impeachment feels good so get with it.

Posted by: Ron | Oct 12, 2016 9:01:21 AM

Getting rid of koskinen wont change the IRS because the IRS is a political entity. Obama doesn't want the IRS to change, so they wont. He would just appoint some other corrupt party apparatchik.

And Hillary doesn't want it to change, so it wont change under her either. It will probably get worse under our 2nd fascist President in a row.

Posted by: wodun | Oct 13, 2016 3:10:50 AM

"Republicans have good reason to want the IRS to come clean and release any documents that shed light on what happened. But impeachment of a man who wasn't even there when the scandal occurred? "

The scandal hasn't ended, and the coverup of its initial actions is ongoing. Koskinen is the head; he's responsible for the continuing mockery.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Oct 13, 2016 4:53:26 AM