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Bill Sargent, Mark Mansius and John Gay are writing columns on important issues for today.

The IRS's Abuse of Power!

February 10, 2014

One hundred years ago the 16th amendment to the Constitution was adopted authorizing the imposition of income taxes. With the amendment came the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which was formed to collect those taxes. 

For over two thousand years people have viewed the tax collector with disdain.  Scripture tells us that many Jews would not associate with such people.  Why?  Because they abused their own people simply because they had the power and authority to do so!  Apparently, similar practices are still with us.  The saying “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!” is correct.  What we are seeing from the current administration and the IRS is an abuse of power.  Targeted organizations seeking tax-exempt status were being asked questions way beyond what was reasonably required to determine tax-exempt eligibility.

In June 2013 The Daily Caller reported

  • “The organizer of an educational group called Linchpins of Liberty said the IRS wanted the names of all his students, many of whom are minors.”

  • “The organizer of a tea party group said the IRS requested copies of all their communications with legislators.”

  • “The organizer of a pro-life group said an IRS official even asked the group to pledge not to picket the pro-abortion organization Planned Parenthood if they wanted their application to go through.“

In July 2013 The Hill reported House Committee Chairman Darrel Issa had disclosed that the Virginia-based Leadership Institute was audited in 2011 and 2012 for activities it engaged in during the 2008 election year, even though it had functioned as a tax-exempt organization since 1979.  It faced “invasive questions” — including about its interns and where they subsequently went on to work — and ended up turning over to the IRS more than 23,000 pages of documents at a cost of roughly $50,000.

During 2012 Attorney General Eric Holder and the IRS apparently “coached” sympathetic ministers on how to engage in political activity without violating their tax-exempt status, according to a September 2013 report in The Daily Caller.

The IRS has the power to garnish a person’s wages, to intimidate people, to ask intrusive questions (apparently not related to their stated role) and to control how folks conduct their affairs.  What we are seeing with the IRS is an agency run amuck. 

Then, just prior to the Super Bowl the President was interviewed by Bill O’Reilly and was asked if the IRS had abused its power.  He responded that there had not been  “even a smidgen of corruption” and blamed a few “bone headed decisions” and Fox News for the problems facing the IRS.  Here is a question: If there is no corruption why did Lois Lerner plead the 5th before a Congressional Committee?

This administration has a problem recognizing and telling the truth be it about Benghazi, healthcare coverage or IRS targeting.  When you give someone a hammer, they will find a nail to pound on and then try to justify using the hammer in the first place.  What seems on the surface as very minor is the preamble of future actions; actions which will only become magnified and increased over time.  Such is true with the tax collection hammer. 

In subsequent columns we will look at some alternatives to an income tax.  Meanwhile, we view what happened at the IRS as part of the Administration’s pattern of abuse of power. 

Bill and Mark and John

Resource: Summaries of over 100 news stories from 2013 on the IRS and targeting.