I have been an attorney in the IRS Office of Chief Counsel for over 26 years. Over a number of years, I have attempted, largely unsuccessfully, to alert the public to abuse within the IRS. One of my kids suggested that I contact a blog and Power Line has graciously agreed to publish this account.
I do not personally know whether the IRS has targeted conservative groups or individuals, but I do know that the environment within the agency is ripe for such activity and there is nothing to prevent it from occurring. As stated in more detail below, I have personally witnessed improper giveaways of billions of dollars to taxpayers with inside access at the agency, bullying of elderly taxpayers, the cover-up of managerial embezzlement and misappropriation of thousands of dollars in government funds, and a retaliatory audit. I have also heard credible accounts of, among other things, further improper giveaways, blatant sexual harassment, and anti-Semitism. All of these matters have been swept under the rug.
Within the past few years, the IRS has used a “cadre” to pursue a particular type of case. I was assigned one of those cases that was in Tax Court. I believed that we should concede the case in question because our legal position was incorrect. As a result, I was called a quitter and a coward, was threatened with retaliation, and in fact suffered retaliation. The “cadre” (I hate that term, but that’s what they call themselves) pushed cases with an obvious legal defect. Taxpayers were denigrated in writing as “upper class twits” and one cadre member stated that, despite the weakness in our legal position, the taxpayers in these cases were typically elderly and could be forced into settling their cases. I stated my ethical concerns to management, but they answered with a short non-response and did not even bother to ask for the name of the cadre member who stated that we could bully elderly taxpayers into settling their cases. (The Tax Court ultimately rejected the Service’s position regarding the legal issue.)
I am reporting the information stated above because as a federal employee, I took an oath to the United States. I have a legal and moral obligation to report this information. I am proud of my colleagues in the IRS. The vast majority of us attempt to do our jobs in a conscientious manner. However, there is a culture of corruption within the IRS that dishonors that majority and the government we serve. Any organization will have its share of bad apples and misconduct. What separates the IRS is its junkyard dog ferocity in covering up misconduct. There is a strong cultural imperative within the IRS to protect the organization and high-ranking officials’ positions within it. If you report misconduct or dissent from the party line, your career is finished. Period. (For example, I still as of this moment have a job, but my career was finished as soon as I reported that manager for embezzlement.)
As stated above, I have no direct knowledge of harassment for political reasons. I fear, however, that the ordinary citizens recounting stories of IRS abuse due to their political beliefs are telling the truth. (It is naïve to think that IRS executives would engage in the activities described above, but somehow draw the line at politically motivated harassment.) If these taxpayer accounts are true, then the IRS executives are doing it for a very simple reason: because they can. There is no accountability for IRS misconduct and people within the agency are scared to speak out and also believe, with considerable justification, that such action would be futile.
I have chosen to speak out in part because I have personally experienced the horrific damage that bureaucratic bullies can inflict. I also have tried to live up to the admonition in Romans 12:21: do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. I could sit around and knock down Jim Beam and complain, or I could try to do something constructive about the situation. I chose the latter option.
And good for him, I guess; at least he’s trying. But he’s right about such action being futile in the end, because it will never be enough to throw the jackals off our necks. “Exposing” people who are immune to repercussions, whose power is absolute, and who are entirely without shame isn’t going to do anything more about bringing them to justice (to use one of the most played-out phrases in the English language) than myriad sham “investigations” and “special prosecutors” and blue-ribbon panels will. I’ll acknowledge that it takes courage to speak up at all in police-state America and leave it more or less at that. Ivy Mike, on the other hand, takes it further:
Well sir, I guess I can say “thank you” for stating the obvious, and confirming what tens of millions of Americans already know. I do find it interesting that as a federal employee you took an oath, in your words, to the “United States” absent “Constitution.” A curious omission from a man who has such tenure in law.
I am sure there was a strong cultural imperative at the Stasi to protect the organization from reports of misconduct, since their entire mission could be easily categorized as misconduct by any civilized society that protects the rights of its citizens.
Would your mea culpa have been an acknowledgement to the immorality of the IRS as an organization, the illegitimacy of the internal revenue code in its entirety, and your awakening as a human being that the enforcement of said code by said agency goes against every fiber of decency in the human heart, I’d be impressed. I’d buy you a bottle of fine scotch whiskey if you finished your confession with an announcement that you have tendered your resignation to Team Tyranny and are now open for business using your deep knowledge of the internal revenue code as a consultant to defend people from the very agency in which you spent twenty-six years helping grow into the malignant behemoth it is today.
Doing that at risk of losing your premium dental care? I won’t hold my breath.
If this guy is a hero, we’ve defined the word pretty far downward. But the unfortunate and larger truth is that if Americans in the main possessed even a fraction of the integrity, courage, and wisdom of the Founders, there wouldn’t be an IRS as we know it at all.