If you or I went to the White House, we’d remember it always. I have been inside the Treasury once, and the IRS building once, and I definitely remember it. But when you are a real mover and shaker like Doug Shulman, it all starts to blur, apparently.
Former Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Doug Shulman visited the White House 118 times between 2010 and 2011. Acting Director Steven Miller, who took over at the IRS in November, also made numerous visits to the White House, though variations in the spelling of his name in White House visitor logs makes it difficult to determine exactly how many times.
The frequent trips to the White House under Obama far outnumbered the times other administrations felt the need to meet with the IRS, according to Mark Everson, who led the IRS under former President George W. Bush. Everson said he remembers making only one trip to the White House between 2003 and 2007 and said he felt like he’d “moved to Siberia” because of the isolation.
Shulman said he couldn’t remember why he went to the White House so frequently, though some of the visits were probably about the IRS’ role in implementing Obama’s health care reforms, he told a congressional committee. Logs show Shulman met with two West Wing officials working on health care.
“The IRS has a major role in the money flow,” Shulman explained to Congress.
But while the health care-related visits were explained in the logs, many others included no explanation.
I doubt Shulman met with the President or his aides to plot audits of presidential enemies — though you’d think he’d be able to figure out why he spent so much time there. Do they still have a bowling alley?
It’s likely that his visits reflect the way the IRS has become a cross-functional super-agency, with bigger responsibilties than most cabinet departments. That is at least as disturbing as the outrageous Tea Party harassment.
Don Boudreaux, Count on It: Power Will Be Abused:
The fundamental question raised by the IRS scandal isn’t whether Obama ordered, or even knew of, the apparent misuse of the taxing power to punish political opponents. Rather, the fundamental question asks about the wisdom of creating in the first place government agencies that can so easily abuse their power in order to play political favorites.
The question answers itself.
Linda Beale thinks it’s just fine to harass the Tea Party:
This so-called “scandal” is just another instance of right-wing obstructionism that is willing to sacrifice good government for maintaining or increasing political power.
Um, no. Even President Obama says that what the IRS did was a bad thing. It’s a little late to try to pretend that it was just the IRS doing its job. Unless, of course, you think its job is to obstruct political opposition and coddle organizations congenial to Linda Beale.
Patrick Temple-West, Groups test political tax rules, and more (Tax Break)
Martin Sullivan, TIGTA Report Implies a Lot, Proves Little, About Bias at the IRS (Tax Analysts Blog)
TaxProf, The IRS Scandal, Day 20
Jack Townsend covers a developing U.S. – Swiss tax enforcement agreement in Swiss Settlement May Be Near and More Developments on Swiss Agreement with U.S.: “With this development, I am sure that the IRS will be sending a lot of John Doe treaty requests.”
Paul Neiffer, More States to Raise Taxes?
Scott Drenkard, Wisconsin Plan Cuts Rates, Broadens Bases, Improves State Business Tax Climate Ranking (Tax Policy Blog). Iowa should try that sometime. The Quick and Dirty Iowa Tax Reform Plan is ready to go!
Howard Gleckman, The Challenge of Cutting Deductions to Lower Tax Rates (TaxVox)
TaxGrrrl, Internet Sensation Charles Ramsey Gets Free Food From McDonald’s: Do You Want Taxes To Go With That? If he takes them up on it, the medical deductions may offset any taxable income.
Joseph Thorndike, Krugman Berates a Bush — Unfairly (Tax Analysts Blog)
Jim Maule, Reader Weighs In on Weighing the Code
Of course he does. Nicolas Cage Urges Nevada to Subsidize the Film Industry (Joseph Henchman, Tax Policy Blog)
Let us praise our dedicated civil servants. IRS employee charged with going on a years-long buying spree with Uncle Sam’s credit card (Kay Bell)
A disgrace to his profession. Las Vegas pimp faces prison after pleading guilty to tax-evasion charge
It’s good to be king. Princess, maybe not so much. Princess Cristina to be investigated for tax fraud