IRS Scandal Update: Washington & Austin

The more that comes out of Washington, the more I’m beginning to think that IRS management is deliberately dragging their feet in revealing information. We still don’t know what happened, but there have been developments this week.

Liberals attempted to state that “progressive” organizations were also targeted. However, TIGTA Inspector General Russell George said that just wasn’t the case. This letter to Congressman Sander Levin should put the end to this issue.

Meanwhile, the House Oversight Committee voted on party lines that Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment right to self-incrimination when she made her speech to the committee. She’ll likely be called back to testify, refuse (taking the Fifth), and end up in Court.

Meanwhile, from Austin (via Indianapolis) comes more unflattering news about the IRS. “IRS hit with audit for mismanagement and fraud,” reads the headline. It appears that there may be multi-billion dollar fraud coming from the ITIN unit in Austin. Another TIGTA report is due this summer. This sentence is probably making another set of IRS managers queasy:

“The IRS is not doing something as simple as requesting sufficient documentation,” Inspector General Russell George told WTHR this spring. “It’s very troubling.”

I’ve had dealings with the ITIN unit. I represented one taxpayer who had to resubmit data on his child three times (twice with the Taxpayer Advocate’s help). Eventually, my client received the ITIN for his child. As to what happened to the first two sets of data we submitted, who knows. My client wasn’t an illegal alien; based on reading this article, had he been (or his child) no documentation would have been required.

My next post will be dealing with the National Taxpayer Advocate’s recommendations for 2013. I will deal with one tangentially here: The IRS needs more money. That’s just not going to happen this year. There is no chance of the House approving a budget increase for the IRS. There’s a better chance of the Cubs winning the World Series this year. Republicans are upset, and the Administration (both the White House and the IRS Administration) have given the appearance of dragging their feet on revealing details.

Finally, the Chicago Tribune called for a special prosecutor to be appointed. The Tribune is asking the same questions I have been:

•Did someone nudge IRS employees to hassle certain groups or did agency officials spontaneously decide to do that?

•Inspector General George has testified that in June 2012, five months before the election, he told top Treasury Department officials of his probe into IRS targeting. Did his news, with its potential to rock the presidential campaign, stop atop Treasury — or did it make its way even higher in the administration?

•At multiple points in 2012, why did top IRS officials repeatedly mislead Congress by not disclosing — in response to highly specific questions — that the agency was targeting conservative groups?

The IRS hasn’t had a good week in some time…and this past week wasn’t any better.


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