As I noted in my post, “Do You Hear Me Now?,” the head of the IRS, John Koskinen, is facing possible impeachment charges for his actions at the IRS. Fingers crossed THAT happens since I can think of few other such worthy candidates for impeachment (along with Robert McDonald at the VA).
But there are other reasons for Koskinen to be handed his hat besides his lying and obfuscation to Congress. Try the IRS taking money from small businesses because it can. Oh, yes it did. From the Daily Signal:
In Feb. 2012, two federal agents told Sowers, who owns South Mountain Creamery in Frederick, Md. that the Internal Revenue Service was seizing more than $60,000 from his farm’s bank account under a subset of civil forfeiture laws governing cash transactions.
According to the IRS, Sowers had committed structuring violations. Structuring is the act of making consistent cash deposits or withdrawals of under $10,000 to avoid government reporting requirements.
But the dairy farmer didn’t know he was doing anything wrong, and because Sowers and his wife sold milk at local farmer’s markets—where customers paid primarily in cash—they frequently made cash deposits into the business’s bank account.
Sowers and his wife tried to fight to the government to get their money back, but ultimately decided to settle.The IRS returned $33,436 to the Sowers and kept $29,500.
Here’s the thing: that these dairy farmers had so much of their assets seized in the FIRST place is astonishing. Perhaps the IRS could have done just a BIT of due diligence before absconding with the funds of these farmers. But for them to have to SETTLE with the IRS, and lose almost THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS on top of it all is horrifying. Making a living as a farmer is a tough row to hoe anyway, but especially when the Federal Government steps in and helps itself to their hard-earned money.
The Sowers aren’t taking this lying down though (nor should they). Sowers and his attorney are going before a Congressional subcommittee today to discuss this very issue:
“One of the main issues that’s going to come out of this hearing is the IRS still is holding tens of millions of dollars that it seized from people that it wouldn’t have seized under its policies today,” Johnson told The Daily Signal. “Those people deserve to get their money back, and Randy Sowers deserves to get his money back.”
Members of the subcommittee, led by Chairman Peter Roskam, R-Ill., will hear from Sowers and Johnson, as well as representatives from the IRS and Justice Department, including IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
“It’s so clear on its face: this is an abuse of power,” Roskam told The Daily Signal. “The government is being dismissive of notions of fundamental justice, even when they acknowledge that the underlying policy is wrong, even when the IRS has apologized for the implementation of that policy. It is still a miserable enterprise trying to funds restored to the individuals.” […] (Click here to read the rest.)
Yes, it IS an abuse of power, something that seems to be the norm at the IRS these days.
But that’s not the only one, oh no. The IRS is also busy DESTROYING RECORDS. Oh, and yes, that is just a tad wrong, another mark against Koskinen, and another reason why the IRS is in hot water. From the Wall Street Journal via Legal Insurrection:
Instant Document Destruction at the IRS
Has the Internal Revenue Service been systematically evading federal record-keeping laws? On Monday the Cause of Action Institute sued the IRS and commissioner John Koskinen for refusing to preserve electronic employee communications that concern official business.
Cause of Action says that in 2010 the IRS struck a little-noticed agreement with the National Treasury Employees Union not to record employees’ instant messages. The watchdog group also says that in response to its Freedom of Information Act requests for text messages sent by senior IRS officials, the agency replied that due to “routine system housekeeping” and “spacing constraints,” IRS text messages are retained for only 14 days before they are deleted.
Both actions appear to violate the Federal Records Act that requires agencies to preserve all relevant documents. The agency says it retains emails, at least those that don’t disappear in mysterious computer crashes. But if employees can send text messages and not save them, they can avoid records retention. “No agreement with a union or any other party can supersede Americans’ right to know how the IRS makes decisions,” says Cause of Action. “In addition, the IRS is violating the law by regularly deleting all employee text messages as a matter of convenience.” (Click here to read the rest.)
Ruh roh. Looks like the IRS is breaking the law to me. Yet another reason to boot Koskinen out on his keister, am I right?
The worst part about ALL of this is that the IRS seems to forget for whom it is working – US. That WE are the ones paying their salaries, and they work for US. They are not a private company, they work for US. It is high past time they were reminded of that. And I hope these hearings are a start to that end, and an end to Koskinen’s reign. Especially their extra-Constitutional, law-breaking ways.
And speaking of the Constitution, you may recall that a whole lot of the hot water Koskinen and the IRS landed themselves in was targeting of conservative groups. Specifically, the IRS went after Tea Party groups to refuse them non-profit status because they didn’t like their positions on things. As if the IRS is supposed to be ANYTHING other than non-partisan. But it is now under Obama’s “leadership.”
Thank heavens, though, for people like Cleta Mitchell, an attorney for a lot of Tea Party groups, who sets an IRS employee straight on what the Constitution means, especially for a FEDERAL employee. Her response knocked it out of the park. Check it out (h/t Legal Insurrection for the video):
Oh, HELL yes – you tell ’em, Cleta!! That is an outstanding, perfect response to one of these IRS political sycophants. (If you want to read the exchange, you can click here.)
I fear our country is going to be hard-pressed to correct all the wrongs that have been encouraged and allowed to flourish under Obama, but I pray that with people like the Sowsers fighting back, Cause of Action, and Cleta Mitchell, that maybe, just maybe the Congress will do the right thing already.
What’s on your minds today? This is an Open Thread.