IRS employees rebelling under double standard

posted at 1:48 pm on April 15, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Unlike in most disputes, I’m actually more sympathetic to the union argument here.  The employees of the IRS have a stringent set of rules that they must follow or lose their jobs.  If they forget to report even a few hundred dollars of income on their return or file late, they’ll also be filing for unemployment.  Under those conditions, one can understand the demoralizing impact of reporting to a Treasury Secretary who didn’t bother to pay his taxes for years (via QandO):

The Treasury secretary, who oversees the IRS, didn’t pay all his taxes. Neither did five other top nominees for the Obama administration, or their spouses.

Now, as Wednesday’s tax deadline looms, some Americans are wondering why they should comply with the arcane requirements of the Internal Revenue Service when top administration officials failed to do the same. Even some IRS employees are upset at what they see as a double standard. …

“Our members are upset and angry,” said Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, referring to concern bubbling up within the IRS over unusually strict rules that can cost agents their jobs if they make a mistake.

In some cases, IRS employees have lost jobs for simply filing a late return or failing to report a few hundred dollars of interest income.

I didn’t realize at the time Geithner got confirmed that these rules existed for IRS employees.  That makes the appointment and confirmation of Tim Geithner even more hypocritical that it originally was. How can Barack Obama and his supporters insist on tax compliance from the populace and such strict standards for tax collectors while appointing tax scofflaws to high government positions?

While I sympathize with the IRS employees union here, I don’t support their solution.  Instead of just demanding that our government hold its appointees to the same exacting standards as IRS employees, they want to loosen restrictions on the employees instead to match the bad example Barack Obama set for them, and that the Senate endorsed.  I’d say the Senate has a duty to ensure that Obama’s political appointees meet the higher standards expected of the people who have to answer to the appointees, especially in the bureaucracy that actually handles tax collection. Obviously, we can’t rely on this administration to have those kinds of standards on their own.


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just fyi, the graphic is messing up the front page badly …

Buckaroo on April 15, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Ed, please fix the photo on the front page.

Loxodonta on April 15, 2009 at 1:50 PM

You’ve been reported to DHS for the oversized image.

lorien1973 on April 15, 2009 at 1:50 PM

on topic, just like people claiming to be “SHOCKED!” at barry’s statist policies, expressing outrage today re: tax cheat tim is months too late …
:-(

Buckaroo on April 15, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Politicians “held to higher standards”?

Hahahahahahahahaha! Thanks, I needed a laugh today!

GarandFan on April 15, 2009 at 1:52 PM

You’ve been reported to DHS for the oversized image.

lorien1973 on April 15, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Please don’t be too hard on him. Anybody who can make me feel competent is a blessing.

Loxodonta on April 15, 2009 at 1:53 PM

Elitists never apply the rules to themselves.

zmdavid on April 15, 2009 at 1:53 PM

If your a Liberal,then blame it on Turbo Tax,
no problem,

besides,Liberals don`t pay income tax,or penalties
like Tim!

As a matter of fact,its an asset for any Democrat
seeking office!!

canopfor on April 15, 2009 at 1:53 PM

Add disgruntled IRS employees to the DHS extremist watch list.

Disturb the Universe on April 15, 2009 at 1:53 PM

Elitists never apply the rules to themselves.

zmdavid on April 15, 2009 at 1:53 PM

Neither do Communists.

Some animals are more equal than others.

Disturb the Universe on April 15, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Please don’t be too hard on him. Anybody who can make me feel competent is a blessing.

Loxodonta on April 15, 2009 at 1:53 PM

Thanks! For a while, I was overwhelmed by irrational feelings of adequacy! ;-)

Ed Morrissey on April 15, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Hopey and his crew are constant reminders that all men are created equal … it’s just that some are more equal than others.

Dukehoopsfan on April 15, 2009 at 1:56 PM

I have a friend who works for the IRS and I know many of the restrictions placed on them by the government to ensure no conflicts of interest. I am not surprised that they are PO’d.

But allowing them extra time to file/pay…that is just wrong. Just another example of the need to toss the Tax Code.

ladyingray on April 15, 2009 at 1:57 PM

Disturb the Universe on April 15, 2009 at 1:53 PM

At which point watch DHS employees be added to the IRS audit list. Which one do you think is worse?

DCA on April 15, 2009 at 1:57 PM

The appointment of this tax cheat is an insult to all taxpaying Americans, and the tone-setter for Obama, his administration, and what he intends for America for as long as he is allowed to remain in office. This just reinforces my decision not to return to the Army and fight for a nation that wants this socialist dictator as their leader.

Virus-X on April 15, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Ed Morrissey on April 15, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Why? Allah give you that duty for the day?

Oh that was too easy. Come on.

lorien1973 on April 15, 2009 at 1:58 PM

At which point watch DHS employees be added to the IRS audit list. Which one do you think is worse?

DCA on April 15, 2009 at 1:57 PM

Let them eat each other.

Disturb the Universe on April 15, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Disturb the Universe on April 15, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Concur wholeheartedly!

DCA on April 15, 2009 at 2:00 PM

Some animals are more equal than others.

Disturb the Universe on April 15, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Are you calling Obama an animal? Racist!!!
/sarcasm

zmdavid on April 15, 2009 at 2:00 PM

You’ve been reported to DHS for the oversized image.

lorien1973 on April 15, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Lorien let us have a competition — see who gets on a terrorist watch list first!

12 pack of New Castle says I’ll win!

blatantblue on April 15, 2009 at 2:00 PM

I’d say the Senate has a duty to ensure that Obama’s political appointees meet the higher standards expected of the people who have to answer to the appointees, especially in the bureaucracy that actually handles tax collection

You must be drinking kool-aid. Never happen. They will loosen the standards.

Wade on April 15, 2009 at 2:00 PM

Those IRS guys now qualify as enemies of the state by Napolitano.

rob verdi on April 15, 2009 at 2:02 PM

I didn’t realize at the time Geithner got confirmed that these rules existed for IRS employees. That makes the appointment and confirmation of Tim Geithner even more hypocritical that it originally was. How can Barack Obama and his supporters insist on tax compliance from the populace and such strict standards for tax collectors while appointing tax scofflaws to high government positions?

Oh, yeah, these rules have existed for years at the IRS and for state-level tax agencies.

The state agency where I am has a yearly report they run looking for late filers, non-filers, delinquent taxes, etc., and all those people become subject to fines, suspensions, and/or terminations.

The subject gets very thorny around here because it’s applied unevenly at best, with the agency’s administration typically going on a witch-hunt to punish certain specific people they’re unhappy with while a bunch of other people get hurt in the crossfire.

teke184 on April 15, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Just an observation but I noted that the trolls are all over the Tea Party Threads, but are absent from the thread regarding their tax cheating treas sec.

John D on April 15, 2009 at 2:04 PM

For ernesto:

If you are looking for a way to kill time before the NYC Tea Party, check this out:

2. Fox Business Network’s show Happy Hour is shot live from the Bull & Bear pub in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. They want as many Tea Partiers there for the show as possible. People should show up around 4:50pm.

Urban Infidel on April 15, 2009 at 2:04 PM

Miss Urban, I am really looking forward to your stuff.

Hate when I mix up genders of commenters.

blatantblue on April 15, 2009 at 2:07 PM

when you have a POtuS who couldn’t even pass a regular security clearance, you don’t really expect the same standards to apply across the board, do you?

gatorboy on April 15, 2009 at 2:08 PM

Remember,those,they or them who criticize
any Liberal, who fails,forgets,or overlooks
their taxes,

will be considered as an Xtreme Right Wing Kooks,
and will be immediately put on the official,
`Watch List`!

And remember,in this current political climate,
dissent is only patriotic,when you are a member
of the Liberal Socialist Democrat Party!!(Sarc).

canopfor on April 15, 2009 at 2:10 PM

The union’s position reminds me of the old saying, “If you think you’re an influential person, try ordering someone else’s dog around.”

It’s just that a lot of these unions are just sham organizations designed to get the top bosses money for getting little more for the employees than the big bad management would have given them in the first place.

For these Treasury employees, they apparently think their union can do something important when it is, in reality, virtually powerless.

thebadoutlaw on April 15, 2009 at 2:11 PM

blatantblue on April 15, 2009 at 2:00 PM

Yeah. Can’t say that’s really a goal of fine. I gotta level my WoW guy to level 80!

lorien1973 on April 15, 2009 at 2:11 PM

Add disgruntled IRS employees to the DHS extremist watch list.

Disturb the Universe on April 15, 2009 at 1:53 PM

Let’s hope they don’t go ‘postal’!

Badger40 on April 15, 2009 at 2:11 PM

Instead of just demanding that our government hold its appointees to the same exacting standards as IRS employees, they want to loosen restrictions on the employees instead to match the bad example Barack Obama set for them, and that the Senate endorsed.

Personally, I’m for loosening the standards for everybody…make paying taxes strictly voluntary…you pay if you feel like it.

AUINSC on April 15, 2009 at 2:12 PM

Remember,those,they or them who criticize
any Liberal, who fails,forgets,or overlooks
their taxes,

will be considered as an Xtreme Right Wing Kooks,
and will be immediately put on the official,
`Watch Enemy of the State List`!

canopfor on April 15, 2009 at 2:10 PM

I’m sure it’s coming!

Badger40 on April 15, 2009 at 2:13 PM

Miss Urban, I am really looking forward to your stuff.

Hate when I mix up genders of commenters.

blatantblue on April 15, 2009 at 2:07 PM

Thanks so much! The weather is clearing up a bit. Looks like the rain has subsided. I cannot wait for tonight. Events like these don’t happen every day. And from what I’ve experienced covering all kinds of protests/demonstrations the patriotic ones are the most uplifting and positive.

Urban Infidel on April 15, 2009 at 2:13 PM

I didn’t realize there were so many racists in the IRS.

cntrlfrk on April 15, 2009 at 2:16 PM

Perhaps these IRS people should have made a bigger statement back before Geithener was confirmed.

myrenovations on April 15, 2009 at 2:16 PM

Imagine working for a boss who has broken a rule for which he would fire you, and your job is to enforce such rules on every other American. To every IRS employee with a moral compass, this hypocrisy must be very galling or disheartening. This is one of many very bad examples that Obama is demonstrating.

Loxodonta on April 15, 2009 at 2:17 PM

This is like having higher standards for Privates than for Generals. How quaint.

MB4 on April 15, 2009 at 2:21 PM

Yeah. Can’t say that’s really a goal of fine. I gotta level my WoW guy to level 80!

lorien1973 on April 15, 2009 at 2:11 PM

WoW.

I’m dying! I knew a kid who sold his WoW characters on eBay. People actually paid top dollar for his high level animals or whatever they were

blatantblue on April 15, 2009 at 2:22 PM

Enemy of the State

I`m sure its coming!

Badger40 on April 15,2009 at 2:13PM.

Badger40: Enemy of the State!haha,lol!

On the other hand,thats probably what its
coming to!!:)

canopfor on April 15, 2009 at 2:24 PM

This standard is also true for Federal law enforcement–one mis-step and you are out. Obama should be ashamed of Geithner but is not. Geithner, himself, should be making public amends and announcing his resignation but is not. Instead he and the obama administration are behaving like typical Dems—focus the hatred on someone else like the banks and bankers and Wall Street. I never cease to wonder at the shear numbers of voters in this country who are continuously hornswoggled by this administration.

jeanie on April 15, 2009 at 2:25 PM

The right-wing extremists will be put on the no fly list which means no traveling which means bankrupting the airlines which means… well, you get the point.

txag92 on April 15, 2009 at 2:27 PM

Go ahead and loosen the standards for IRS employees, why not? Lets loosen standards for everybody. Accountability and dedication are not exactly watchwords for the Progressive movement are they?

Mord on April 15, 2009 at 2:37 PM

The Senate has a duty?! Those bootlicking lapdogs? Obviously, we can’t rely on this congress.

We don’t have the executive branch. Congress is in the ambulance and unresponsive. The Judiciary is a mixed bag of activist waiting for new recruits from the 2 previous branches. The media routinely lies, distorts, spins, etc and is still believed by a sizeable percentage of the populace. Said populace has a majority of tax free Demo loving give me some more voters. The universities are liberal bastions. Where exactly can I find some relief?

AnotherOpinion on April 15, 2009 at 2:50 PM

Socialism has always about having one set of rules for the masters, and another, tougher, set for the masses.

MarkTheGreat on April 15, 2009 at 2:52 PM

Years ago I made the acquaintance of an IRS Field Auditor. He related his account of serving papers on an armed citizen who, as anticipated, met him at the door, armed. He said since IRS people weren’t permitted to carry, he’d taken an FBI guy with him. He actually saw the humor in the fact that the armed FBI agent took cover behind the IRS agent when the the citizen came to the door.

I’ve reminded people on numerous occasions when they b*tch about the IRS, the IRS folks aren’t the problem. IT’S THE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE WHO BRINGS THE LAWS INTO BEING. Don’t shoot the messenger, vote the Jerks out of office,

oldleprechaun on April 15, 2009 at 2:54 PM

Just got off the phone with a helpful, efficient, competent, and thoughtful IRS employee (really!) – so I’m all in favor of letting them deal with their anger however they want!

CK MacLeod on April 15, 2009 at 2:55 PM

CK MacLeod on April 15, 2009 at 2:55

Good thing you didn’t ask to speak with Geithner–he probably couldn’t have helped you.

jeanie on April 15, 2009 at 3:15 PM

Yep, jeanie – good thing he was busy helping some other “customer.”

One thing I don’t get though is why the IRS on-hold music is “the Blue Danube.” I’m pretty sure it’s been that way for a while, too.

What’s an American agency doing playing Austrian classical music? Or can they tell from the chips they’ve secretly implanted in our brains what countries we were born in (I happen to have been born in Austria – of American parents though)?

CK MacLeod on April 15, 2009 at 3:19 PM

The Obama administration circus will be set to do a 56 state 28 month road tour after they’re done pretending to do their jobs.

Griz on April 15, 2009 at 3:19 PM

We are now living in what I have learned to call “opposite world”. Whatever you think should happen, is the right thing, the logical thing, the constitutional way, the fair and just way, the exact opposite will happen. You can use this to actually predict what will happen. Try it, it really works.

mph on April 15, 2009 at 3:24 PM

I’ve known about these rules since Geithner was nominated. I wondered how the regular employees could stand it.

Alana on April 15, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Good luck with that. Obama set the precedent, it’s ok for his appointees to throw IRS standards under the bus. Now surprise, surprise, the peons don’t think that’s fair.

It’s kind of like the president here at work telling us he can’t afford to give us the 2% raise we were promised this year, probably not next year either. Then we open the newspaper and read that he took himself a 16% increase.

scalleywag on April 15, 2009 at 3:52 PM

tempest in a teapot.

The socialists are not depending on individual tax compliance. They have much better ways to steal your money than that. And besides, they don’t want to piss off the people they paid to vote for them.

They will force the companies that provide you the services you need to live to steal your money for them.

notagool on April 15, 2009 at 3:54 PM

I didn’t realize at the time Geithner got confirmed that these rules existed for IRS employees. That makes the appointment and confirmation of Tim Geithner even more hypocritical that it originally was.

C’mon Ed, look at the number of Professional Politicians (i.e., Congresstitutes) that skate laws real people follow (example, Teddy ‘the Fish’ Kennedy, Patrick ‘Leaky’ Leahy, Hillary ‘the Beast’ Rodham-Clinton-Rodham). Nothing is below them.

SeniorD on April 15, 2009 at 3:58 PM

I’d say the Senate has a duty to ensure that Obama’s political appointees meet the higher standards expected of the people who have to answer to the appointees, especially in the bureaucracy that actually handles tax collection.

Good luck on that.

Each and every Democrat Senator is a corrupt incompetent and the majority of them are abject traitors to this country as well.

If there were justice in this country, the majority of them would be locked up in Leavenworth, awaiting trial for their very lives.

Harry Reid, in particular, should have been stood up against a wall and shot five years ago, for his efforts aimed at losing a war for crass political gain.

NoDonkey on April 15, 2009 at 4:23 PM

So far Hopenchange is going real well, huh? The only happy people are the half of the population that pays no taxes.

Whoops, I guess that’s the point!

PattyJ on April 15, 2009 at 7:23 PM

As a career Internal Revenue Agent who retired just a few years ago I can assure you that the front line employees are not happy having Geithner as their boss. It flys in the face of the very laws they’re trying to enforce or must abide to themselves. NTEU is a federal union that like most unions fully endorses Democrats. For them to speak out shows how much anger there is amongst the rank and file federal employees over the blatant hypocrisy of making Geithner Treasury Secretary.

Goodale on April 15, 2009 at 8:52 PM

It’s not just the Treasury, look at the rest of his appointments! Crooks and hacks and weasels.

Of course the Federal union wants to legitimize the corruption, and that will probably happen, and it will be another nail in the coffin.

It’s sick, and supporters of this bullcrap are sick as well. WAKE UP!

Merovign on April 16, 2009 at 12:48 AM

So the leftists want the IRS workers to act like conservatives.

seven on April 16, 2009 at 1:44 PM

“only the little people pay taxes”

seven on April 16, 2009 at 2:07 PM