<< Chandra and Brady | Main | Merit Selection in Iran Presidential Race >>

Criminal Liability at the IRS

I have been reluctant up to now to weigh in on the IRS scandal, simply because, in my view, not enough of the facts are known.  What is knows is:  (1) the IRS targeted conservative groups seeking non-profit tax status; (2) this occurred during the election campaign, in which it was advantageous to the President to discourage spending by his opponents while making it relatively easy for his friends; and (3) White House Counsel's Office knew about this before the White House previously claimed.

That doesn't smell too good, but smelling bad is not a reason to send anyone to jail.  If an IRS official was, in fact, deliberately and for corrupt motives picking out conservative groups for screening not given equivalent liberal groups, then that person most certainly does belong in jail.  And the rest of us start to need to worry about the smell, not of crime, but of tyranny.

I still don't know enough of the facts about this case to draw a conclusion, but today's headline from this LA Times story is not particularly encouraging.  The headline is, "Top IRS official will invoke 5th Amendment."


Meaningful to me:

Bonnie Esrig, a former manager at the Internal Revenue Service Cincinnati office responsible for the targeting of conservative groups, told NBC News she believes
the scandal goes well beyond “low-level” employees

The 38-year IRS veteran said that when she saw headlines blaming the scandal
on “rogue” employees, she was shocked. “Those were things that were not consistent with my knowledge of the way the organization works,” she said...
[nor was]...the Cincinnati [office] responsible for the targeting of nearly 500 conservative groups.

“The idea of two rogue employees [CNN Report "“two rogue” employees"],” Esrig said, “is inconsistent with the kinds of checks and balances that are inherent
in the way the organization is set up

She added that, contrary to what the IRS told the inspector general, these
were not “mistakes” made by “front-line career employees.”

“Front-line employees (at the Cincinnati office) do not make key decisions about policy and how work is processed,” Esrig told NBC News. “Work is reviewed by
the managers. The employees don’t operate autonomously where there is no
review. The managers review."



If the "I knew nothing" President truly wanted to take decisive action in the IRS scandal he would have canned Lois Lerner and not simply removed an acting commissioner who was leaving in three weeks anyway.

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives