Reining in the IRS

by Ramesh Ponnuru

My Bloomberg View column this week looks at the last time an IRS scandal led to reform of the agency.

In 1997, congressional hearings revealed that IRS agents were being pressured to meet quotas for back taxes and penalties. Agents, sometimes anonymously, admitted that these quotas had led aggressive collectors to squeeze taxpayers for money they didn’t really owe. . . .

The earlier IRS scandals produced useful reforms partly because the Republicans who did the most to publicize them weren’t focused on pinning the blame on President Bill Clinton. They instead wanted to demonstrate the dangers of letting the federal government have too much power, and in finding ways to reduce those dangers.

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