Special Report

The Liberal Union Behind the IRS

Obama, IG Report refuse to touch powerful Treasury Employees Union headed by ex-IRS agent.

By 5.16.13

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“My question is who is going to jail?”
-- House Speaker John Boehner on the IRS Scandal

The President couldn’t even bring himself to breathe a word of the truth.

He could fire some hapless Acting Commissioner, but last night Mr. Obama never came close to discussing that which must never be discussed. 

The IRS?

It’s about a union: the National Treasury Employees Union. The NTEU. A left-wing union representing 150,000 employees in 31 separate government agencies, including the IRS. A union that not only endorsed President Obama for election and re-election, but a union whose current president, Colleen Kelly, was a 14-year IRS agent and now is both union president and Obama administration appointee (of which more in a moment).

It’s about 94% of NTEU union contributions going to Democrats in the Senate and House in 2012 -- candidates who campaigned as vociferous opponents of the Tea Party.

And the recently released report from the Treasury Inspector General? You will not find a single reference to the NTEU. Whose members are both player and referee in the exploding controversy over the IRS targeting of conservative groups.

Which raises the obvious question: how many NTEU members were involved in the writing of the Inspector General’s report?

Even more to the point, what contact -- what coordination -- has the Obama White House had with their allies in the NTEU leadership as both the White House and the NTEU race to get on top of a scandal that is rapidly engulfing both?

Did I mention that the NTEU has no comment on all of this? And that when President Obama went in front of cameras to make his statement on the IRS scandal -- he never once mentioned his very powerful union buddies that have the run of the IRS? Right down to the control of who gets a Blackberry? Literally. 

Let’s first see how the IRS/NTEU game with the Tea Party and conservatives is played, shall we?

In the 2012 election cycle, the IRS union gave its money this way:

For the U.S. Senate:
Total to Democrats: $156,750
Total to Republicans: $1,000

For the U.S. House:
Total to Democrats: $391,062
Total to Republicans: $23,000

And the candidates on the receiving end of those IRS employee dollars? Yes indeed. They were candidates who were running flat out against the Tea Party, depicting Tea Party-supported candidates as dangerous, extremists, and crazies. Exhibiting exactly the anti-Tea Party antipathy on the campaign trail that has been revealed to be permeating the IRS.

No wonder. These Senate and House races were fueled in part by money donated by IRS employees.

Let’s take a look at specific races where the IRS employee money was involved.

Wisconsin: One of those IRS employee-backed Senate candidates was Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, who in fact won her Senate race over ex-Republican Governor Tommy Thompson. 

The NTEU, the union representing IRS employees, gave Baldwin $8,500. And what was Baldwin’s view of the Tea Party? If you check over here at the Midwest Values PAC, a left-wing political action committee set up by liberal Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, you will find this headline:

National Memo: Tammy Baldwin Runs Straight At The Tea Party

The story begins this way, and I have put the key sentence in bold print:

Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin wants to be the first openly gay candidate elected to the United States Senate. In an exclusive interview with The National Memo over the weekend, she made clear how she means to go about doing it: running straight at the Tea Party.

Indiana: In the Indiana Senate race, the Democrats’ candidate was Joe Donnelly, who used his $5,000 contribution to run a winning anti-Tea Party race against Republican Richard Mourdock. Donnelly’s campaign website, presumably financed in part with the money contributed by IRS employees, has this headline attacking the Tea Party: 

FACT CHECK: Mourdock Trying to Change Subject from Extreme TEA Party Views

The text of the Donnelly press release begins this way, with a direct attack on the Tea Party:

Indianapolis, Ind.--Today, Joe Donnelly’s campaign responded to Richard Mourdock’s latest ad trying to change the subject from his pattern of extreme TEA Party views.

“Hoosier voters are rejecting Richard Mourdock’s pattern of TEA Party extreme positions, so he is desperate to change the subject,” said Paul Tencher, campaign manager. “In fact, Indiana voters are responding to Joe’s message of working with both parties to get things done for middle class families. The only person playing politics in this race is Mr. Mourdock, as he tries to distract voters from his extreme views that are out of the mainstream.”

Missouri: Over in the Missouri Senate race between Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Todd Akin, the IRS employee money -- in the form of a $10,000 contribution to McCaskill -- was used by the McCaskill campaign to help send this e-mail to supporters that bluntly attacked the Tea Party as “dangerous”: 

Akin’s Rap Sheet Makes It Clear: Tea Party Congressman’s Outside Of The Mainstream Views, Dangerous Policies Are Wrong for Missouri, From his record to his rhetoric, everything about Todd Akin’s Tea Party policies are outside of the mainstream and dangerous for Missouri families. 

When Missouri Republicans nominated him last night, they pinned their Senate hopes on a far right, Tea Party Congressman whose candidacy diminishes the party’s prospects for November.

And over in House races? At the very top of the high dollar list were two vividly anti-Tea Party candidates who each received a $10,000 contribution of IRS employee dollars.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: Pelosi’s strategy was made plain in this interview with liberal columnist Eleanor Clift of the Daily Beast:

Stung by the debt-deal loss, the minority leader plans to get Democrats back on their jobs message and hammer Tea Party lawmakers as extremists who want to destroy government.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer: Hoyer famously attacked the Tea Party this way, as seen with this headline:

Hoyer: Tea Party People Come From Unhappy Families 

 There are a whole lot of people in the Tea Party that I see in these polls who don’t want any compromise. My presumption is they have unhappy families.

Understanding all of this -- that IRS employees themselves are paying, through their union the NTEU, for the election of anti-Tea Party candidates -- the absence of any mention whatsoever of the connection between the IRS and the NTEU puts the IG report in a very different light.

For example.

The IG report says -- and I will bold print the key phrases -- the following:

The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention. Ineffective management: 1) allowed inappropriate criteria to be developed and stay in place for more than 18 months, 2) resulted in substantial delays in processing certain applications, and 3) allowed unnecessary potentially involving information requests to be issued.

Although the processing of some applications with potential significant political campaign

intervention was started soon after receipt, no work was completed on the majority of these

applications for 13 months. This was due to delays in receiving assistance from the Exempt Organizations function Headquarters office. For the 296 total political campaign intervention applications TIGTA reviewed as of December 17, 2012, 108 had been approved, 28 were withdrawn by the applicant, none had been denied, and 160 were open from 206 to1,138 calendar days (some for more than three years and crossing two election cycles).

More than 20 months after the initial case was identified, processing the cases began in earnest. ….IRS officials stated that any donor information received in response to a request from its Determinations Unit was later destroyed.

Just in these opening statements of the IG report there is one very significant and glaring omission.

Where is the NTEU?

Note the phrases in bold print:

“The IRS”
“identified for review Tea Party and other organizations”
“Ineffective management”
“the processing”
“delays in receiving assistance from”
“approved”
“IRS officials stated”
“request from its Determinations Unit”

In each and every case these phrases identify actions taken by people -- by IRS employees. IRS employees are members of the NTEU. The NTEU that is using money from these very same IRS employees to fund the campaigns of anti-Tea Party candidates like Baldwin, Donnelly, McCaskill, Pelosi and Hoyer. Not to mention all the rest of the Democrats who got a piece of the IRS employee money action.

As one would suspect, given the enormous clout of the liberal IRS union, it’s all about the politics. Liberal politics and the financing of the liberal welfare state. A federal version, if you will, of the recent famous struggle between Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and state employee unions.

How powerful is the NTEU within the IRS?

Look no further than this IG report from back in January of this year that discusses the role the union has inside the IRS bureaucracy in the minutia of which IRS employees get to carry a Blackberry. The report notes: 

In June 2010, the IRS and the NTEU signed an agreement to standardize IRS policy regarding which IRS employees would be allowed (referred to as a “profiled” position in the agreement) to receive certain information technology equipment, including aircards and BlackBerry® smartphones.

Notice: the NTEU, which gave 94% of its campaign money to anti-Tea Party candidates, has the clout within the IRS to demand a say in who can and cannot carry a Blackberry and receive other high tech communications equipment. The report goes on to say:

Initially, IRS policy limited the assignment of BlackBerry® smartphones to executives and senior/departmental managers. However, the agreement between the IRS and the NTEU expanded availability to employees below the executive and senior/departmental level.

This doesn’t even mention the power the NTEU has inside the IRS to decide everything from promotion rules to size of employee workspaces and on and on.

So the obvious.

If you are working in the IRS, and you are an NTEU member, and you know your union leadership is funneling your union dues to anti-Tea Party candidates, and your union has so much raw power within the IRS that they even control whether you, an IRS employee, can get even such mundane tech gear as a Blackberry -- what attitude are you going to display as you review Tea Party applications that must, by law, come in to the IRS for approval?

You already know what to do. And inside the IRS, that’s exactly what was done. The Tea Party, in the vernacular, was screwed. By IRS bureaucrats whose union money is being used to attack the Tea Party. Of course these IRS employees know what to do -- most probably without even being asked. There is no need to ask. And if they don’t follow the union program -- and want a Blackberry -- tough luck.

And what of the NTEU president, Ms. Kelly? The one-time IRS agent also doubles as an Obama appointee (announced here by the Obama White House) to the Federal Salary Council. Identified in the Washington Post as:

…a panel obscure to most Washingtonians but one that performs a vital role in recommending raises for most federal employees.

Got that? The President of the NTEU -- a union that has gone out of its way to use IRS employee money to defeat the Tea Party -- has a “vital role in recommending raises for most federal employees” -- which includes, of course, IRS employees.

As if IRS employees don’t have enough incentive to go after the Tea Party, their anti-Tea Party president has a say in whether they get not just a Blackberry but a raise as well.

Can you say: “conflict of interest”?

Let’s stop here and take a look at a famous incident with the IRS that has made news in the last few days: the Articles of Impeachment filed against President Richard Nixon.

By now, all manner of people have been reminded that President Nixon’s resignation was prompted by the House Judiciary Committee passing Articles of Impeachment, with Article 2, Section One specifically saying:

He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.

But there’s something missing in this recall of the tale of Nixon and the IRS.

In the early 1970s, President Nixon bypassed Congress and postponed salary increases for General Schedule federal employees. This included, of course, the IRS. The NTEU was furious with Nixon and took the President to court in a case called NTEU v. Nixon. The union won, and the federal government was forced to pay $533 million in back pay to federal employees.

So far, so normal in the world of Washington and relationships between a president and federal employees. Right?

Wrong.

Two years later, in 1974, the year the Watergate scandal reached high tide and Nixon was forced to resign, his abuse of the IRS cited in Article 2 as one of the reasons, there was another story out there involving the IRS and Richard Nixon.

As the liberal drive to get Nixon increased to the force of a political hurricane, reporter Jack White of Rhode Island’s Providence Journal-Evening Bulletin received an illegal leak -- from the IRS. Specifically, an illegal leak from someone inside the IRS -- an IRS employee -- that leaked Richard Nixon’s 1970 and 1971 taxes. There was an immediate uproar -- not about the leak or the identity of the leaker -- but over the accusation that Nixon had underpaid his taxes. The House Judiciary Committee took the information and ran with it, opening an entire line of inquiry about Nixon’s tax deductions. So public was this it resulted in Nixon famously answering a question at a press conference this way:

People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook. I've earned everything I've got.

And while people are remembering Nixon in the current furor over the IRS because of his own abuse of the IRS and Article 2, there was another Article --Article 4 -- that was based on the leaked information from the still-unknown IRS employee to reporter Jack White. Read Article 4:

He knowingly and fraudulently failed to report certain income and claimed deductions in the year 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1972 on his Federal income tax returns which were not authorized by law, including deductions for a gift of papers to the United States valued at approximately $576,000.

Nixon vigorously disputed this, of course. But it didn’t matter. He was out the door, forced to resign. A leak from the IRS to the media about Nixon’s taxes one big no-never-mind.

And what happened to reporter Jack White? The man who received the illegal leak of Nixon’s tax returns -- a violation of law -- and published them?

Jack White was rewarded by his liberal media peers with the 1974 Pulitzer Prize in Journalism for National Reporting.

So.

What’s really going on with the IRS?

The Internal Revenue Service , with all of its mighty taxing and police powers, is in the hands of anti-Tea Party, anti-conservative, political activists. Liberal political activists from the NTEU masquerading as neutral career bureaucrats. The money of IRS employees used to fuel the National Treasury Employees Union’s open and expensive assault on the Tea Party and conservatives.

And comment on all this from the NTEU? Here’s this from the Washington Post:

So far, the National Treasury Employees Union, which generally is not shy with public comment, has next to nothing to say about that or anything else.

“NTEU is working to get the facts but does not have any specifics at this time. Moreover, IRS employees are not permitted to discuss taxpayer cases. We cannot comment further at this time,” NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley said via e-mail.

A call to the NTEU office in Cincinnati resulted in a similar response: “We’ve been directed by national office. We have no comment.”

No comment? No wonder.

IRS employees are not permitted to discuss taxpayer cases”??!! What a joke.

Here in the Wall Street Journal is author James Bovard with a short history of the political manipulation of the IRS by various presidents, and Bovard notes that: “With the current IRS scandal, we may have seen only the tip of the iceberg.”

Aside from Nixon they include FDR, JFK, and Bill Clinton. The difference is the latter three weren’t forced to resign because of it -- and Clinton’s abuse of the IRS was not include in the Articles of Impeachment that focused on his lying to a grand jury over that liberal favorite -- sexual harassment.

The real question now?

With the IRS assuming serious police powers of Obamacare, in effect the members of one left-wing labor union will have access to the private health care records of every single American.

And notes the Wall Street Journal, again the bold print for emphasis: 

This March the IRS Inspector General reiterated that ObamaCare's 47 major changes to the revenue code "represent the largest set of tax law changes the IRS has had to implement in more than 20 years." Thus the IRS is playing Thelma to the Health and Human Service Department's Louise. The tax agency has requested funding for 1,954 full-time equivalent employees for its Affordable Care Act office in 2014.

Got that? The real meaning here is that the NTEU is asking for 1,954 more union members whose union dues will be put to use to “hammer the Tea Party” in the words of Nancy Pelosi.

As James Taranto also noted over in the Wall Street Journal yesterday:

The Internal Revenue Service last year supplied a left-leaning nonprofit charity with confidential information about conservative organizations, which the charity disseminated to the public, ProPublica reported yesterday.

Once again, IRS employees -- they of the anti-Tea Party union NTEU -- were caught leaking private information.

Did I mention they were targeting Billy Graham -- 95 year old Billy Graham??!!! Why? Because the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was urging “voters to back ‘candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles….’”

You know what terrifies every liberal in America right now? You want to know the real reason President Obama abruptly felt the need to go on national television last night and fire the Acting Commissioner of the IRS last night as Americans were having their dinner?

The distinct possibility that the IRS and the whole confection of Big Government liberalism built around the federal taxing power is about to implode in scandal.

Big scandal. The kind of scandal that will make Watergate look like a piker.

And the irony?

That in seeking to destroy the credibility of the Tea Party, the Obama administration and its allies have destroyed not just the credibility of the IRS and one very seriously powerful union.

They have destroyed their own credibility. 

Photo: UPI

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.