The IRS Was Very Naughty, But It's Sorry, Says Inspector General

They won't do it again. Next time, they'll try something different.



Even as the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reports the discovery of thousands (!) of Lois Lerner lost-in-action emails, we're told the IRS "has taken significant actions" to avoid the sort of politicized shenanigans that got the former tax-administering bureaucrat in such hot water to begin with. Only time will tell whether the recovered missives reveal deliberate targeting of conservative tax-exempt organizations as part of an effort to hobble critics of the administration, but Inspector General Russell George and company have already concluded that right-leaning groups received inappropriate scrutiny—and say that the tax agency is taking steps to make sure that this particular transgression isn't repeated. For what that's worth.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration notes:

The report is a follow-up to a May 2013 TIGTA report, which found that ineffective IRS management resulted in: 1) the use of inappropriate criteria to identify for review organizations applying for tax-exempt status based on names and policy positions instead of indications of political campaign intervention; 2) substantially delayed processing of certain applications, and, 3) the issuance of unnecessary information requests.

And before we even get into it, the IG told inquiring members of Congress two years ago that conservative groups did indeed receive special attention not given to those leaning to the left. "Our audit did not find evidence that the IRS used the 'progressives' identifier as selection criteria for potential political cases between May 2010 and May 2012," he wrote to Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.). All of the groups with "Tea Party," "patriots" and "9/12" in their name got the treatment, compared to 30 percent of the groups with "progress" or "progressive" in their names.

This continues a long tradition in this country of the IRS being wielded as a political weapon.

But that is coming to an end. Well, at least this version of that particular abuse won't be done in quite the same way in the future. According to today's report (PDF):

The IRS has taken significant actions to eliminate the selection of potential political cases based on names and policy positions, expedite the processing of Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization applications, and eliminate unnecessary information requests.

Among other changes, the IRS "eliminated the use of Be On the Look Out (BOLO) listings, which TIGTA determined had contained inappropriate criteria regarding political advocacy cases." It's also processed a lot of the long-delayed tax-exempt applications and implemented a quality review process.

Well, that's that, then.

If I sound cynical, like I expect to see some version of political hatchetry by the IRS in the future, that's only because I do. We've been down this path before, and tax collectors with vast authority are much too effective as political weapons for government officials to resist the temptation.

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  1. The IRS has taken significant actions to eliminate the selection of potential political cases based on names and policy positions

    I’m sorry, but just the way these clowns write indicates continued malfeasance. It is impossible for them to simply state “The IRS has eliminated selection of political cases” because FYTW.

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      1. I don’t know, lomerqaleona. That seems like something the IRS would target.

  2. What does this have to do with Hillary?

    1. Palin’s Buttplug|4.30.15 @ 5:13PM|#
      “Look over there!”

      Never change, turd; stay slimy!

    2. I’m sure receiving payoff from foreign governments and funneling them through your foundation has got to violate one or two sections of IRS code. Maybe if they stopped politically motivated witch hunts and worked on graft and corruption cases they could actually do the job the public hired them to do.

      1. “Maybe if they stopped politically motivated witch hunts and worked on graft and corruption cases they could actually do the job the public hired them to do.”

        In fairness, though we’re stuck paying their salaries, absolutely none of us hired them to do anything.

    3. What does this have to do with Hillary?

      CNN is covering that up now.

  3. “At the time of the last scandal, Congressman, you said you didn’t want to catch us harassing out political enemies again. In accordance with that demand, we have tried sincerely not to get caught. Obviously, our cover-up skills need some work, but we are definitely making improvements.”

  4. Misconduct was exposed.

    1. Preventive actions were taken.


    2. More training will be required.

  5. “The IRS Was Very Naughty, But It’s Sorry, Says Inspector General”

    Whaddya mean? Naughty? What are you talking about?


    1. He means, IRS has been lighting the candle in Grail-shaped window. For which it will be punished!

      1. Punish the IRS by letting it screw you?

        1. Say, have you considered a career in civil service? You have the right instinct for it!

          1. “Oh bad, naughty, EVIL GKC!”

  6. I just had a tooth extracted. A molar. It was not overly pleasant, but far from the worst thing I’ve ever experienced.

    I’d go get another tooth pulled, RIGHT NOW, over dealing with an IRS audit.

    I remember the one time we got a “Your guilty, pay up” note. That feeling in the pit of my gut. Of course, we’d done nothing of the sort alleged, it was all a mistake….

    And it went away. But – that feeling. One of the incidents that kept sending me down the road to full-on hatred of all governments and the people in them.

    1. “And it went away.”

      Yeah, that questioning by the IRS ‘went away’ for me after a hefty bill from a tax attorney pointing out the IRS’s mistake to the IRS.
      I got to ‘write it off’ next year; big whoop.

    2. My wife just had five teeth pulled. One of them was infected to begin with, and afterwards it got worse. She called the dental surgeon’s office, and they brushed her off. All she wanted was some antibiotics. So she went to our regular dentist, who was very upset after looking at her. Called the surgeon’s office and gave them an earful for ignoring my wife’s complaints over a bad infection. I was ready to file a complaint with the Board, but my wife opposed it. She just wanted it over. One thing is for sure, she’s never going to that oral surgeon again. And neither is anyone she knows.

      1. If only the med profession were as open as Uber.

    3. One of the incidents that kept sending me down the road to full-on hatred of all governments and the people in them.

      One of my wife’s coworkers got ticketed the other day for using a cell phone while driving. Thing is, that’s legal in this state. Got ticketed for a lack of insurance at the same time. But the stop was illegal, since talking on a phone while driving is not a crime. She plans to fight it. Hope she wins, but after my last experience in traffic court I can only wish her luck. One thing is for sure: nothing will happen to the cop (detective, actually, apparently the detective bragged about being a detective) who illegally stopped her for a non-crime and then issued her a citation for said non-crime.

  7. So the person or persons who wrote those BOLO notices, they’re on their way to jail? Fired? Denied a coffee break? Oh, nevermind, I just remembered – accountability is a bad word. They don’t do that in the government, it’s hate speech or something… Walks off muttering to self about torches and lynchings n stuff.

    1. Why so mad, Jima? Surely Lerner or Koskinen has taken full responsibility.

      1. You’re right, obviously, everything’s fine now. Taking full responsibility means never having to say you’re sorry, right? Makes me want to “accidentally” load a pallet of twenties from the US Mint onto my truck and drive away. Then later I can get someone else to take full responsibility or something. 🙂

  8. I’m not surprised that an honest investigator was able to find the unfindable emails. Although I haven’t read anything that indicates HOW or WHERE they were found, anyone with five minutes experience managing an exchange server and dealing with no-shit real world user scenarios knew they could be found in some way or form.

    1. There you have it. Any govvie with 4 minutes experience is kicked into another job where that competency might just be tamped down. Can’t have people bending the performance curve after all.

      1. Whatever do you mean, juris. Our fine government is just loaded with plenty of competent people. You have a family pet needs shooting? Aren’t too many better at it than that. Find yourself in a masochistic mood and in need of harassment? They’ve got just the folks for you. Your business growing too quickly and find yourself in need of diverting resources from productive activity to slog through piles of red tape. Who better than the government?

  9. Supposedly the IRS is still going after Rove’s Crossroads group. I think it’s hilarious that the IRS didn’t blink when Obama’s campaign organization became a 501(c)(4), but those conservative 501(c)(4)s, well, they might violate the rules by supporting specific candidates!!

  10. Just my own thought here—

    Where are the handcuffs and the perp walks of ALL these people who took this road ILLEGALLY?

    To say they are “correcting” past “mistakes” is an affront to the citizenry of the USA!

    1. Government employees cannot commit crimes while doing their duties. That would mean the government committed a crime, and that’s a legal impossibility. The government employee must be doing something malicious and outside of their duties for it to be considered to be a crime. With no hard proof that this extra scrutiny was malicious, it’s just government employees doing government business. Time for more training or new policies or something. But criminal punishment? Nope. The law does not apply to them. They are government. They’re above the law.

      1. If it is ILLEGAL to do so, it is NOT ABOVE THE LAW!

        1. Government doesn’t commit crimes. It can’t. By definition of being sovereign. Since government is people (not The People as most people believe, but just people), then that means the people who do government duties cannot commit crimes. By definition. Government is above the law. So the people who do government duties, like tax collection, are above the law when they are doing the duty. It’s only a crime if it can be proven that they were not acting in their duty as a government employee. They run the legal system. They make the rules. The king can do no wrong, and neither can his men. Even when they do wrong it’s not wrong because the king says so. They have The Divine Right of the King Will of the People bestowed to unto them by God Representation.

          We live in a feudal system. Only the costumes have changed.

          1. Term limits for ALL fed employees?!

          2. We can’t afford so many civil servants, times are tough. What are we…Aristocrats?

  11. So the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration decided that avoiding an IRS audit was more important than actually investigating the IRS?

  12. Phony scandullz. Boooosh!. Without the IRS who would build Roadz and bridgezz?

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