We already knew the government’s excuse for the IRS scandal—that it was a couple of staffers gone rogue at the Cincinatti office—was absurd. Now one of the those Cincinatti employees, speaking anonymously to the Washington Post, has confirmed it:
“We’re not political,’’ said one determinations staffer in khakis as he left work late Tuesday afternoon. “We people on the local level are doing what we are supposed to do. . . . That’s why there are so many people here who are flustered. Everything comes from the top. We don’t have any authority to make those decisions without someone signing off on them. There has to be a directive.”
The staffer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job, said that the determinations unit is competent and without bias, and that it grouped together conservative applications “for consistency’s sake” — so one application did not sail through while a similar one was held up in review. This consistency is paramount in the review of all applications, according to Ronald Ran, an estate-tax lawyer who worked for 37 years in the IRS’s Cincinnati office.
“You’re not going to have a bunch of flaming liberals in the exempt-organizations department looking for conservative applications,” he says.
Pretend for a second that you’re an IRS career staffer, and also happen to be a raging socialist who despises the Tea Party. Are you really going to risk your well-being and start a sprawling, surreptitious operation to stall the applications of conservative non-profits? It’s a ludicrous notion, and one that seems impossible when you consider the IRS’s enormous command structure.
This goes higher. Let’s hope we learn how much higher in the weeks ahead.