IRS Commissioner John Koskinen appeared before the House Ways and Means Committee — again — to answer for how his agency is handling enforcement of Obamacare. In the course of questioning, he made this statement, giving an interesting revelation of the agency’s mentality:
“Wherever we can”? Sometimes it’s simply impossible for a federal agency to follow the law? Yet the IRS is authorized to nail any citizen who violates tax law, knowingly or unknowingly, and frequently takes full advantage of that authority.
Maybe I’ll tell that to the IRS next time I file my taxes. “I followed the law whenever I could, but sometimes, I just couldn’t — please excuse me.”
Reminds me of the letter Donald Rumsfeld sent to the IRS along with his tax return this year. He wrote, “The tax code is so complex and the forms are so complicated, that…I have absolutely no idea whether our tax returns and our tax payments are accurate.”
John Hayward at Breitbart accurately diagnoses Koskinen’s statement as a symptom of a much larger issue:
The problem is that we have a code of laws so complex, so distorted by political arrogance and special-interest deal-making, that even the gigantic agencies charged with enforcing it can only shrug and say they try to follow the law whenever they can. There might be big problems at some of those agencies, but the system itself is an even bigger problem.
The tax code, the IRS, and, frankly, the entire federal government need an overhaul. But that doesn’t take the heat off the tax collectors. Recent history shows the IRS does indeed pick and choose when to follow the law. For example, the very issue Koskinen was answering for at the hearing:
Numerous Treasury and IRS staffers have told investigators from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that they knew back in 2011 that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act didn’t authorize them to issue health-insurance subsidies through Exchanges established by the federal government. But they did so anyway. (And now they’re in court.)
Not to mention disclosing private taxpayer information — multiple times — destroying evidence related to a Congressional investigation, and targeting groups for increased scrutiny based on their political beliefs.
Koskinen’s statement is so ludicrous, Chairman Kevin Brady’s initial response was just to laugh. Yet this is a serious matter. “I encourage you to follow the law in all instances,” was Brady’s understated advice.
We’ll do one better — the IRS had better follow the law, or face the consequences like anyone else.
Sorry, IRS, the American people can’t accept your excuses. No one is exempt from the law, least of all public officials responsible for enforcing it.
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