The latest news from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) about illegal political activities at the IRS will certainly not help the administration’s (and Representative Elijah Cummings’) current narrative that there is not a “smidgen of corruption” at the IRS.
OSC is an independent agency that investigates violations of the civil service rules that govern federal employees and the federal statute that protects whistleblowers, as well as violations by federal employees of the Hatch Act, which restricts the political activity of civil servants. One of those rules is an absolute prohibition on partisan political speech and activity in the federal workplace.
Another tax specialist in the Kentucky office of the IRS was given a 14-day suspension for telling a taxpayer she was “for” the Democrats because “Republicans already [sic] trying to cap my pension and…they’re going to take women back 40 years.” The tax specialist added that her mother told her that “if you vote for a Republican, the rich are going to get richer and the poor are going to get poorer.”
Unfortunately for the tax specialist, the taxpayer recorded the illicit telephone conversation. The recording even caught the IRS employee telling the taxpayer that “I’m not supposed to voice my opinion so you didn’t hear me saying that.” This particular IRS employee had been advised about the restrictions of the Hatch Act on this type of behavior “just weeks before the conversation,” according to the OSC.
And it is more evidence that there is bias and partisan political behavior spread throughout the IRS, and not just in the Washington office where Lois Lerner worked before she retired to a nice federal pension.
— Hans A. von Spakovsky is a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Along with John Fund, he is the co-author of Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk (Encounter, 2012) and the upcomingObama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department (Broadside, June 2014).