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June 23, 2021

Marty: Lies, memory loss at the IRS

While the committees investigating the IRS make good public theater, you have to read the report by the Treasury Inspector General (I.G.) to understand the details. After that, the only logical conclusion is that this was a politically driven operation illegally targeting conservative organizations – a broad-based enemies list.

Now that the IRS has been caught red handed, claims that this was merely blundering incompetence are simply ludicrous. The IRS knew of, and covered up, these illegitimate practices for years and even the mea culpa via planted question was designed to wrong-foot the devastating I.G. report. The planter, Lois Lerner, IRS director of tax exempt organizations, has since exercised her Fifth Amendment right not to testify as a witness against herself and has been placed on administrative leave.

Let’s look at the I.G. report. The IRS set forth criteria that clearly targeted conservative organizations without regard to the information in their applications. They searched for the words “Tea Party,” Patriots,” or “9/12 Project” in the name or case files, looked for organizations that wanted to “make America a better place to live” or that made statements criticizing how the country was being run. Statements supporting how the country was being run did not trigger special examinations.

The IRS lied by claiming, “the Tea Party criterion [was used] as a shorthand term for all potential political cases,” but the facts say otherwise. The I.G. report states, “… ALL [my emphasis] cases with Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 in their names were forwarded to the team of specialists.” This happened regardless of the information in the applications.

Who put this in effect? We don’t know – the IRS has suddenly suffered a mass memory loss. According to the I.G. report, “During interviews with Determinations Unit specialists and managers, we could not specifically determine who had been involved in creating the criteria.”

Does anyone believe the criteria created itself?

The IRS also developed and forced these organizations to respond a set of intrusive, detailed, and politically oriented questions that, according to the I.G., had little or nothing to do with the law, their applications, or any related IRS function. This included information on who organization members were talking to and what was said – straight out of George Orwell’s “1984”

According to the I.G., the letters requested that the information be provided in two or three weeks despite the fact that the IRS had done nothing with some of the applications for more than one year.

The IRS is supposed to apply the law equally regardless of political affiliation. Applications from conservative organizations were assigned to languish in Purgatory for years while – according to the I.G. report – more problematic applications from other groups were allowed to proceed unimpeded. Finally, there comes the part where the IRS states that issues in the I.G. report have been resolved, but the I.G. says they “disagree” and that “corrective actions have not been fully implemented.”

Those directly responsible are still being protected because, miraculously, no one can remember their names. Who, exactly, defined this politically prejudicial process? In response to the facts, all we are getting so far from the IRS are excuses, a pack of lies and a double dose of, “I don’t remember.”

This is exactly how tyranny begins, not with a great thunderclap, but in backroom officialdom, a little bit at a time. People with conveniently bad memories about political shenanigans at the IRS should not be working for the Federal government except for what they earn cleaning out their prison cells daily.

Marty Richman is a Hollister resident.

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