Ex-IRS official admits agency could care less about taxpayers
Your rights do not vary based on how “potentially controversial” you are in the eyes of the media, Congress, or the IRS itself. An organization either satisfies the law’s requirements for tax-exempt status, or it does not. By trying to concern itself with predicting controversy instead of determining tax status, the IRS risks becomingly overly focused on organizations opposed to a current administration – as was amply demonstrated by the number of “Tea Party” and “patriot” groups treated inappropriately merely because of their names.
The letter is also a prime example of how the government solution to bad government is always more government. Low level staffers were not the ones making “terrible mistakes” in the targeting scandal – in fact, because of the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) rule discussed in our report, they weren’t making many decisions at all. They were forced to look upward if an application “might receive media of Congressional attention,” a fact irrelevant to the application’s merit but very relevant to the job prospects of IRS management.
The targeting scandal is not a story of insufficient oversight by senior leaders but of suffocating micromanagement from them. The kind of “cries of anger and incredulity” that Mr. Rosenberg mocks were due to years-long delays and invasive questioning that improperly prevented concerned citizens – including more than one Occupy organization – from fully joining in the democratic process. Those delays were not caused by junior staffers twiddling their thumbs but by IRS leaders who insisted on centralizing the decision-making.
The Institute has a produced a top notch report on the IRS targeting scandals -- where the tax collector unfairly, and perhaps illegally, singled out tea party and liberty groups for scrutiny and harassment -- which you can read here.
If there is one part of the DC swamp that needs to be drained -- and then paved over -- it's the IRS.