The first Morning Jolt of the week features why Eric Holder will stick around for the foreseeable future, despite anonymous quotes to the contrary in the New York Times; why we ought to show some humility when discussing modern marriage, working arrangements, and family life; and then this preview of the week . . .
The Internal Revenue Service Is About to Have Another Bad, Bad, Bad Week
The IRS is about to have another brutal week. Here’s what Darrell Issa’s got planned:
Committee’s Thursday, June 6 hearing entitled “Collected and Wasted: The IRS Spending Culture and Conference Abuses.” The hearing will focus on the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report on excessive IRS conference spending and abuses of taxpayer dollars. Issa sent a letter about excessive spending to then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman in April, 2012. Between 2010 and 2012, the IRS held at least 220 conferences, which cost approximately $50 million.
In one example, the IRS spent $4 million dollars on a manager’s conference for 2,600 people in Anaheim, Calif. in August, 2010. Contrary to established government contracting practices, the outside event planners did not negotiate lower room rates and instead focused on “perks” for IRS employees. Several IRS employees stayed in presidential suites, which rate at $1,500–$3,500 per night. Moreover, 15 outside speakers were paid $135,000 — including one speaker who lectured on “leadership through art” for $17,000.
Additionally, multiple videos were produced for the conference. A previously unreleased video, referred to as the “cupid shuffle,” featured employees learning the popular dance as part of preparation for the Anaheim management conference.
But wait, there’s more! Take a look at the excerpts from interviews that Issa’s committee is releasing:
Another more senior IRS Cincinnati employee complained about micromanagement from D.C.:
Q: But you specifically recall that the BOLO [Be On Look Out] terms included “Tea Party?”
A: Yes, I do.
Q: And it was your understanding — was it your understanding that the purpose of the BOLO was to identify Tea Party groups?
A: That is correct.
Q: Was it your understanding that the purpose of the BOLO was to identify conservative groups?
A: Yes, it was.
Q: Was it your understanding that the purpose of the BOLO was to identify Republican groups?
A: Yes, it was.
Q: Earlier I believe you informed us that the primary reason for applying for another job in July  was because of the micromanagement from [Washington, DC, IRS Attorney], is that correct?
A: Right. It was the whole Tea Party. It was the whole picture. I mean, it was the micromanagement. The fact that the subject area was extremely sensitive and it was something that I didn’t want to be associated with.
Q: Why didn’t you want to be associated with it?
A: For what happened now. I mean, rogue agent? Even though I was taking all my direction from EO Technical [Washington, D.C], I didn’t want my name in the paper for being this rogue agent for a project I had no control over.
Q: Did you think there was something inappropriate about what was happening in 2010?
A: Yes. The inappropriateness was not processing these applications fairly and timely.