Not a Penny More for the IRS - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Not a Penny More for the IRS
Lois Lerner invokes the Fifth Amendment, May 22, 2013 (YouTube screenshot)

Congress should not increase funding for the IRS.

Not $40 billion more, as a “bipartisan” group of senators demands. Not $80 billion more, as Biden and the Democrat leadership demand.

Not one red cent.

It is ridiculous to even consider more tax dollars for the Internal Revenue Service until those at the IRS responsible for the “leak” of private tax returns and audits to a left-wing political group, ProPublica, have been identified, fired, and jailed. Releasing IRS data is a crime punishable by five years in prison, per infraction.

The IRS needs a complete overhaul before any additional cash or pay raises or more hiring is even discussed.

Not a penny more should flow to the IRS that only days ago refused to allow a Christian group to incorporate as any other religious nonprofit would because the IRS actually said that promoting Christianity helped the Republican Party.

Rancid religious bigotry and partisan politics from the agency that demands to see all financial data of all nonprofits, including churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples, is unacceptable and unconstitutional. Only because this outrage made the press did the IRS back down. How many such groups are strangled quietly in the crib, never to be heard from?

We know the answer to that one. During the Obama–Biden years, the IRS, led by Obama appointee Lois Lerner, crippled the Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party movement by refusing to allow groups that sounded conservative to incorporate as nonprofits. This is normally (by government standards) a quick and easy process, but between 2009 and 2012 only one conservative nonprofit group was allowed to come into being.

If you do not receive IRS permission to be a nonprofit, it is difficult to impossible to organize, raise money, have a bank account, and hire staff. Congress demanded to see the emails of those responsible. The IRS destroyed evidence, including 422 backup tapes containing Lerner’s emails.

No IRS employee was disciplined for this scandal. The Obama Department of Justice closed its investigation with no charges, and Lerner was permitted to retire with a pension and a bonus.

A political movement that arose in opposition to Obama’s tax-and-spend policies and cost the Democrats control of the House of Representatives in 2010 was extinguished by the IRS in time for the 2012 elections. This politicization of the IRS allowed the Democrats to maintain control of the Senate for an additional two years and to reelect Obama despite presiding over the weakest economic recovery since World War II.

What other government agency can boast such success in delivering for its favorite political party? That might explain the interest on the part of the Democrat party in rewarding such loyalty with $80 billion.

IRS agents played politics at the micro level, as well. During the Obama years IRS agents released rifle shot private information that allowed political thugs to attack American citizens who had made political contributions to “non-woke” causes. The “leaking” by IRS staff was directed against conservatives only. No one was punished.

Just this year, the Supreme Court ruled that such contributions deserve privacy and protection from thugs. And just who was the Supreme Court rebuking? Kamala Harris, Biden’s vice president, who as the California attorney general took the Obama IRS policy and tried to impose it wholesale on all private donations in her state. She was shut down.

The IRS needs a complete overhaul before any additional cash or pay raises or more hiring is even discussed.

There should be no additional federal funding for an agency that works as a paying wing of the Democrat party coalition. The National Treasury Employees Union that “represents” the IRS union sends 97 percent of its political giving in House races to Democrat candidates. In the category of donations to political parties, the IRS union gives 100 percent of its money to the Democrat party — $118,000 in the 2019–20 cycle alone.

How much of the money Biden wants to toss into the IRS will be recycled to his own campaign and that of other Democrats in 2022, 2024, and beyond? The best answer would be none. Don’t give them the cash to recycle.

President Biden and the Democrat leadership of Congress have demanded an additional $80 billion be taken from taxpayers and handed to the present, unreformed IRS over the next 10 years to hire an additional 87,000 agents. That’s enough to fill Washington, D.C.’s Nationals Park twice. The IRS’s budget in 2020 was $11.5 billion, and it employs or at least pays 75,773 staff.

Why would Congress vote to give the IRS more money to hire more agents when in recent hiring sprees they were not able to even meet their hiring targets with already available funds?

And what would the IRS do with more agents? A recent inspector general report found that delays and failure to perform was in part a result of 42 percent of their copy machines and printers not working. Broken? No. The IRS staff either does not know how to replace the ink cartridges or is simply too lazy to do so.

Reports by the inspector general have repeatedly urged the IRS to tighten its security for the privacy of Americans’ tax returns. A 2016 report found that the IRS failed to document the return of over 1,000 laptops used by contractor employees that contained sensitive taxpayer data. A 2017 report found that the agency rehired more than 200 employees who were previously employed by the agency but fired for previous conduct or performance issues.

These problems were not fixed. Year after year. Who gives pay increases to an employee who refused to learn from past failures and correct them when publicly admonished?

Biden wants us to believe that these 87,000 new hires will increase the tax take by $700 billion over 10 years. Phil Gramm, the former congressman and senator from Texas, reminds us that such promises have been made before — claiming a fixed ratio of how much you spend on staff and how much revenue is raised — and the projections have been so far off that the Congressional Budget Office no longer allows such assertions to be put into congressional budgeting.

Biden suggests that these agents will target big businesses and the super-rich. Not you and not your neighbors. But the IRS leadership has publicly admitted it plans to increase audits of small businesses by 50 percent. Their stated targets are family businesses that pay their taxes through the personal income tax code rather than as corporations — and ones that by necessity are often paid by customers in cash. Barbershops. Nail salons. Restaurants. The farmers’ market. Corner grocery stores.

The IRS should not be rewarded for failing to reform, failing to obey the law, failing to fire those who break the law, and spending tax dollars to act as the enforcer for a partisan political machine.

Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform.

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