Tuesday, May 14, 2013

IRS - Tea Party scandal timeline or deleted scenes from Idiocracy?

ABC News has obtained a (leaked) copy of a timeline created for the Inspector General report on the IRS - Tea Party scandal. It's more than just a documentation of the actions taken to target tea party/patriot/conservative groups for screening before giving them tax-exempt status. It's a damning indictment of the bureaucracy of this massive government agency that has control over all Americans.

As the introduction to Appendix VII says:

"The following chart illustrates a timeline of events from Redacted through July 2012 involving the identification and processing of potential political cases. It shows that there was confusion about how to process the applications, delays in the processing of the applications, and a lack of management oversight and guidance."

The timeline references multiple acting managers, replacement of managers and supervisors, changes in personnel over a two-year period of time. What the timeline doesn't indicate is if these changes were normal movements of personnel or if they were a result of the lack of progress on reviewing the cases.

It gets a bit confusing with the titles and departments, but basically, a Determinations Unit, a Technical Unit, Rulings and Agreement, lawyers and directors were all involved. It appears the Determinations Unit asked numerous times for guidance and direction from the Technical Unit. As the issue began to get public attention, the internal actions escalated.

If you look at the September - October 2011 entries you'll see the Determinations Unit asked the Technical Unit to 'triage' the cases to see what actions the Determinations Unit should take. They did and sent back a spreadsheet. But the Determinations Unit, which was looking for a recommendation about whether to close or further develop the cases, had no idea what to do with the information on the spreadsheet because it didn't answer the question. So back to the Technical Unit they went.

By November, they all decided that "the guidance developed would not work in its present form – it was “too lawyerly” to be
useful and needed the Determinations Unit input."

Then there was this on Feb. 29, 2012 (emphasis mine):

The Director, EO, stopped any more additional information request letters from being issued on advocacy cases until new guidance was provided to the Determinations Unit. In addition, the Acting Director, Rulings and Agreements, discussed with the Determinations Unit Program Manager, about having specialists print out website information and asking the organizations to verify the information instead of asking for applicants to print out the website information.

Yes, you read that correctly. They had to tell the specialists to go to their computers, print out information from the groups' websites and then verify the information rather than mail a request asking the groups to print out their website information and mail it back to the IRS.

I had plenty to say about this in February 2012 when I first reported on the Ohio Liberty Coalition's own experience with the IRS. I especially took issue with the demand that this tea-party group predict the future.

Isn't that something you'd expect to see in the movie, Idiocracy?

In the end, it took almost the full two years to get instructions and directions clear so that the Determinations Unit, charged with actually deciding if the various applications met the proper criteria, could actually determine if the applications should be approved or denied.

Even without the "lack of oversight and guidance," how in the world did we let any agency get so big - or laws so complicated - that it takes two years just to decide something like this???

And remember - this is the taxation agency, something I'm certain our founders would never have envisioned when they used the rallying cry of 'no taxation without representation.'

And if that's not scary enough, this is the same agency that's going to oversee your compliance with Obamacare.

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