Interesting article on Wall Street Journal: http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110006594To summarize, Independent Counsel David Barrett was investigating Clinton and some of his cronies back in the day and began discovering interesting information about how politicians use the IRS to intimidate their enemies. Barrett spent about a decade investigating this case, and American taxpayers have paid $21M to fund Barrett's investigations. Barrett is ready to release his report, but Senators Dorgan, Kerry, and Durbin are trying to defund Barrett's investigation (thereby preventing him from publishing his findings) using the latest war appropriations bill.I understand that this post is a little off topic, but I think it's still of interest to people on this board. Apparently, this is the first time that the IRS has been investigated with grand jury subpoena power. I'm not trying to bring up how sketchy Clinton was. I think that whatever party you affiliate with, you should be interested to hear about IRS abuses.
I did a little digging on the Thomas site. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:SP00399:Perhaps we'll get the report after all. If Barrett gets it published by June 1, 2005.
Apparently, this is the first time that the IRS has been investigated with grand jury subpoena power.I'm not trying to bring up how sketchy Clinton was. I think that whatever party you affiliate with, you should be interested to hear about IRS abuses. It's nice to see someone not as cynical as I about the grand jury process. Let's hope you're right and I'm wrong. Don't get me wrong, I've both seen some IRS abuses and heard about a lot other purported ones over the years. However, given the nature and history of this particular independent counsel's investigation, I think an audit of his books would be much more illuminating.Naturally my opinions are influenced by the 25 years I spent in the IRS. They are also informed by same. I was there in the Watergate years when Mr. Nixon tried like crazy to use the agency politically and was met with refusal by the Commissioner. I've endured countless attempts by Congressional staff to influence case actions, usually a request not to enforce the law their bosses had written. I was in the room during the incredibly biased and fakey 1999 hearings on IRS abuses that propped up Bill of Rights 3. BTW, even though the agency couldn't comment without taxpayers' consent, the truth about those trumped up abuses finally came out.I don't know what current figures are, but in my day the IRS numbered about 100,000 employees. I'm doubtful that you could gather any 100,000 adults and find that none has ever misbehaved in his job. That said, I'm aware of not one instance of successful tries at political use of the agency.If any IRS employee has acted with political motivation on a case, that employee should be in jail. If someone manages to prove up widespread agency political abuse, I'll be stunned.Phil
Phil,You said:If someone manages to prove up widespread agency political abuse, I'll be stunned.To paraphrase the late Sen. Dirksen (I think it was), a small abuse here and a small abuse there and pretty soon you are talking about some serious abuses. (A take off on the, "A billion here and a billion there," speech)I'm old enough not to be surprised by anything anymore. Well, if my beloved Cubs would win a World Series in my remaining years, THAT just might give my heart a flutter! But beyond that.....I find it hard to believe you defending the IRS. I know you said, "widespread political abuse," but isn't it possible for some unscrupulous IRS employees, scattered here and there within the agency, to muck up the waters?Not arguing; just asking.Best regards,Duane
I know you said, "widespread political abuse," but isn't it possible for some unscrupulous IRS employees, scattered here and there within the agency, to muck up the waters?Absolutely, although it's been my experience that most such abuses are driven by overzealousness, not personal or political gain.Phil
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