Dr. Boozman's Check-up

Zero Tolerance

May 14 2013

On his radio show yesterday, Dave Elswick asked me about the reports that the IRS targeted conservative political groups during the 2012 election. In addition to targeting groups to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status, it appears that IRS officials may have lied to Congress in an effort to cover-up the agency’s misdeeds.

On top of it all, we learned last night that it wasn’t just a few rouge agents in Cincinnati who were responsible for this massive overreach, but that IRS officials at the agency’s Washington headquarters also sent queries to conservative groups asking about their donors.

There are a lot of questions that need to be answered by top officials at the agency.

Who carried this campaign against conservative organizations out? Who ordered it? How many groups were targeted beyond what has already been reported?

The Associated Press reported that an inspector general’s investigation reveals that senior IRS officials—including the head of the agency’s division that oversees tax-exempt groups—knew about these unfair actions as far back as 2011. Who else knew? How high up the chain were they? Did they cover it up?

The good news is that people on both sides of the aisle—Republicans and Democrats—are rightfully outraged by this shocking abuse of power. We’re going to get to the bottom of this. People will be held accountable. At the very least, those engaging in these unethical actions need to be fired. If they broke the law, they need to be prosecuted. 

This scandal gives the already-maligned IRS a black eye. It reinforces people’s worst fears about Washington—that those in power will use any means necessary to maintain that power.

Everyone needs to be treated fairly under the law. Clearly, there are employees at the IRS who do not subscribe to this principle. There must be zero tolerance for the actions of those individuals. It’s time to clean house at the agency.