July 30, 2014

From Politico:

Ex-IRS official Lois Lerner refers to some Republicans as "a--holes" and "crazies" in an exchange from 2012, according to emails released by House Republicans on Wednesday.

"Maybe we are through if there are that many a--holes," the former head of the IRS tax-exempt division wrote in an exchange with an unnamed non-IRS official, dated Nov. 9, 2012. Later she added: "We don't need to worry about alien terrorists. It's our own crazies that will take us down." [Politico]

Lerner at the time was at the center of a controversy in which Republicans had accused the IRS of targeting Tea Party groups for scrutiny. Ryu Spaeth

May 22, 2014

One year after coming under fire for improperly targeting some Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status, the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday announced it would reconsider proposed rules regarding such groups.

Announced last year, the rules apply to groups known as 501(c)(4)s. Though the rules are supposed to inform how IRS agents review such groups when they apply for non-profit status — 501(c)(4)s are supposed to be "social welfare" organizations whose primary purpose is not politics — critics assailed them for being too vague.

While the IRS said it received a "diversity of views" regarding the proposed rules, the outcry from those on the right was by far the most vocal. All of which raises the question: After a full year of pillorying the IRS, did the Tea Party finally win? Jon Terbush

May 7, 2014

By a vote of 231 to 187, the House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to hold former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for not cooperating with an investigation into the agency's targeting of specific organizations.

Last year, Lerner admitted during an American Bar Association conference that the IRS singled out certain groups, including those with "tea party" in their names, the Washington Post says. A Justice Department investigation was held, and Lerner was called to testify at hearings on Capitol Hill, where she invoked her Fifth Amendment right. She last appeared before the Oversight and Government Reform Committee in March, and again invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

The contempt resolution was approved on a party-line vote in April by the Oversight panel, which then passed it on to the full House, the Post reports. The matter is being sent to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, and then given to a grand jury for review. If Lerner is convicted, she could face up to one year in jail, and a fine of $100,000. The House Ways and Means Committee, in another party-line vote, agreed to request criminal prosecution of Lerner for misleading investigators and revealing private taxpayer information. Her attorney, William Taylor, is adamant that his client has not done anything illegal. Catherine Garcia

April 23, 2014

A new government report states that more than 1,100 Internal Revenue Service employees who failed to pay their taxes were collectively rewarded with more than $1 million in cash bonuses and over 10,000 hours in paid vacation.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration's report, released Tuesday, even showed that at least five employees who received performance awards wound up with the money even after being disciplined for intentionally paying taxes late and underreporting income and tax liabilities for multiple years. In total, from Oct. 1, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2012, $2.8 million in bonuses were handed out to employees who had been cited for everything from drug use to misusing government credit cards.

"While not specifically prohibited by IRS policies, providing awards to employees with conduct issues, especially the failure to pay taxes owed to the federal government, appears to be in conflict with the IRS's charge of ensuring the integrity of the system of tax administration," the report said. "In addition, awards provided to these employees could be put to better use by providing employees who are compliant additional opportunities for awards."

According to The Washington Post, the IRS is now looking into linking conduct to performance awards, a change that would be subject to union approval. Catherine Garcia

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