Many Americans just dropped a check in the mail to the most loathsome entity in Washington, D.C., the Internal Revenue Service. Sure, it’s tough to part with hard-earned money, but it’s even tougher when you realize that the IRS is a corrupt organization out to take away your liberty just because they don’t like your politics.
Remember when the IRS admitted to targeting, harassing and intimidating tea party, Christian, pro-Israel and other conservative groups, an intimidation that undermined the ability of ordinary Americans to express themselves and freely participate in the democratic process? Well, nothing ever came of that.
In 2013, President Obama said the behavior of the IRS was “inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives.” He went on to say, “it should not matter what political stripe you’re from — the fact of the matter is… the IRS has to operate with absolute integrity. The government generally has to conduct itself in a way that is true to the public trust. That’s especially true for the IRS.”
So Obama made promises. He promised to “hold the responsible parties accountable, put in place “new safeguards to make sure this kind of behavior cannot happen again,” and “ work with Congress as it performs its oversight role.” To enact this change, he brought in a new IRS commissioner John Koskinen to help restore public confidence. After the Senate confirmed him, Koskinen had plenty of time to figure out who was responsible for the unfair targeting of Americans. He didn’t. Nor did he work with Congress to provide proper oversight. Most Americans aren’t shocked that the Obama administration didn’t actually care that the arm of the government was being used to harass Americans, but some are shocked that Donald Trump’s administration has done nothing.
When Jeff Sessions was appointed to be the head of the Department of Justice, newly elected President Trump said, “”A new era of justice begins. And it begins right now.” Well, I guess that depends on what the definition of “now” is. After all, he didn’t immediately fire IRS commish Koskinen even in spite of the organization’s admission of wrongdoing. Even in spite of the fact that the scandal cuts to the heart of what it means to be an American. Even in spite of the fact that Koskinen perjured himself before Congress, allowed the IRS to clearly destroy documents, and then continued to target conservative groups without apology.
Recently, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), and Tax Police Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL) recently sent a letter to Sessions asking him to look into whether Lerner used the power of the Internal Revenue Service to target the applications of certain groups when they applied for non-profit status. There shouldn’t be much “investigating” necessary since they admitted to egregious wrong doing.
Breitbart’s Bob Price called the two congressmen’s letter “tax day justice,” but that is hopeful hyperbole. Lerner is a criminal and should be in stocks in front of the IRS building right now. We’re tired of waiting. My organization, Citizens for Self-Governance has been funding the litigation that’s been investigating Lois Lerner for years. We need justice, not a couple of lawmakers grandstanding and saying someone should investigate.
The investigation should not be long nor complicated, since the facts are pretty well known. The Department of Justice should be instructed by Sessions directly to immediately begin to settle the litigation and cooperate with the plaintiffs in NorCal Tea Party vs. IRS. Anything less is more Washington D.C. posturing.
We’ll see if Donald Trump means what he says about his new era of justice starting now. “Now” is already too late, but it would definitely be better than never.
Mark Meckler is president of Citizens for Self-Governance.