Sauce for the Gander
Assume you are a small business owner – say a dozen or so employees.
The IRS audits your business tax return and says you’re underreporting your income. There’s no evidence for this, of course, but the IRS doesn’t need evidence. You’re guilty unless you can prove yourself innocent. (Hey, what happened to due process? Oh, didn’t you hear? That doesn’t apply to the IRS gestapo.)
The IRS launches a massive invasion of privacy against you, telling you all the records you’re required to produce going back seven years, among them emails. In other words, you’ll be investigated not only for their specific allegation, but also, while the IRS is at it, they will go on a fishing expedition to see if they catch any other misdeeds. You are, after all, presumed to be in a perpetual state of IRS guilt.
Notwithstanding what records you produce, it isn’t good enough. IRS gun-toting goons show up at your place of work and confiscate your computers, servers, and paper files. The fact that this effectively puts you out of business is of no concern to them. (I personally observed them padlock a friend’s retail store during shopping hours for suspected underpayment of payroll tax.)
An investigation of your computers reveals no digital trail past the time that the IRS investigation of your firm began. An explanation is demanded.
“Well, uh, you see sir, the computer system crashed,” you say.
“All twelve of them?” the lead inquisitor asks incredulously.
“Unfortunately so,” you say. “Darndest thing I ever saw. Came in one morning and they were toast – dead as doornails.”
“And the servers?” asks the inquisitor.
“Them too,” says you.
Inquisitor: “Where are they? Where’re the drives?”
You: “Shredded I reckon. No good, you know.”
Multiple choice pop quiz: “At this point, the IRS is likely to (a) curse and terminate the investigation for lack of evidence, (b) charge you with a crime, © believe you’re telling the truth and invite you to lunch – at his expense.”
Those of us who have been audited know that this story is pretty much factual down to the start of the dialog. No doubt your sympathies were on the side of the guy being hounded by the IRS.
Reading the dialog, however, I’ll bet you thought, “Oops, this dog won’t hunt.” Okay, maybe you didn’t think exactly in those terms. But I’ll bet you were thinking something equivalent to, “Anyone who would believe the story of crashed drives would buy the Brooklyn Bridge.”
Well that’s what the folks at the IRS (aka Comedy Central’s joke-writing affiliate) would have us believe – “us” being you and me and members of Congress investigating the allegation that the civil rights of targeted groups were suppressed by those wonderful folks who ruin every April 15. The President breaks the law with impunity, after all. Why shouldn’t the IRS?
We know for a fact that Obama and the Senate and House ranking Democrats ran a smear campaign against conservative organizations in the run-up to the 2010 election. That’s a matter of public record, spoken publicly and reported by the complicit mainstream media. We know that Obama and his congressional Myrmidons publicly urged the IRS to investigate these organizations and revoke or refuse their tax exemptions on donations – that’s also public knowledge. All the usual suspects – Chucky Schumer, Carl Levin, Dickey Durbin, and Elijah Cummings (the minority party Co-Chair of the House committee which is investigating the IRS, chaired by Representative Darrell Issa, R-CA) – were up to their armpits in conspiracy complaints they’d written to the IRS about conservative groups.
We also know that Lois Lerner ran a political hit campaign inside of the IRS. We know she took the Fifth after blaming every targeting action, memo, meeting, telephone call, decision, and lunar eclipse on “that office of rogues over in Cincinnati.” Anyone who believes that, line up for the weekly sale of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Additionally we know that Lerner shipped a database of 12,000 non-profit tax returns to the Criminal Division of the FBI, which has no jurisdiction over taxpayers, inviting them to go on a fishing expedition. “Look around, boys. Nobody’s perfect. Surely you’ll find something.” Unauthorized disclosure of confidential taxpayer information is a crime – even among government agencies.
What we don’t know is whether the IRS and elected officials – Obama and the congressional Democrats – collaborated to use the power of government in suppressing the political rights of a group. If that could be shown, it would be a crime. Some folks might go to Big Boy prison.
So, last week as the noose tightened around the neck of a government official who had pled her Fifth Amendment rights to avoid self-incrimination, we learn (a) her computer hard drive crashed in 2011 when the investigation following the 2010 election began, (b) the hard drives of six other IRS employees implicated in this developing scandal also crashed – darndest coincidence, © that rather than recover the data on the hard drives – standard practice where I work – they were shredded, quite likely in violation of the Federal Records Act, (d) the hard drives on the mail servers also crashed and were shredded – wow! must have been an outbreak of something, (e) that there has been no back up of the mail system or network hard drives in two years! – now, where’d ya’ say that Bridge is? (f) that there was no fail-over system in case hard drives start crashing – also standard practice in my office – which would make possible the restoration of lost data, (g) that there were no offsite mirror servers to run in tandem in case of a catastrophic failure – like the place burns down – and prevent the loss of billions and billions of irreplaceable taxpayer records, also SOP – can you believe it? – and saving the best for last, (h) when the new guy, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, took over this Singapore cesspool around the first of the year, he learned in February that “computer problems” had happened, yet he promised Issa’s committee later that spring that Lerner’s emails would be delivered forthwith. That’s called lying under oath in my family – a definite no-no.
Lots and lots of coincidences here – long strings of coincidences, in fact – are making cooperation with Darrel Issa’s committee investigation of IRS wrong-doing dang nigh impossible. Of course, I don’t believe for a heartbeat that most are true, but it’s going to take a Special Prosecutor to get the information and charge someone with a crime. Maybe someone in the IRS will get nervous and ‘fess up or rat out the bad guys and gals.
Memo to John Koskinen: Hey, Kosk; since you guys stopped using the IRS abacus network a while back and switched to the modern invention we call computer networks, well you may not know this, Kosk, but you see, when ol’ Lois there and her fellow conspirators were connected to the network, their keystrokes weren’t writing on the hard drive under their desks; they were writing out on the network drives, so the only thing their drive crashes did was create a bad smell. Might want to tidy up your story before your next congressional appearance. I think Issa is getting royally torqued over all these unbelievables happening in the middle of his investigation.
“What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,” my Granny used to say. But there’s no gander sauce when it comes to government. It cheats.
You and I are expected to retain seven years’ of taxpayer information available on demand, abide by laws requiring the payment of confiscatory taxes by a minority of income earners while a majority pay little or none, cooperate fully in any investigatory audit that seeks to indict us for not paying Caesar his full pound of flesh including interest and penalties, suffer the presumption of guilt and the adverse consequences of incomplete or lost records, and annually engage experts to complete tax returns for an arcane revenue code that makes the Minoan maze of the Minotaur look like a nine letter crossword puzzle.
Here we have an unimpeachable example of open air law-breaking that is being defended by political interests in the Democrat party who believe obeying the law is just a quaint practice. Where is the public outrage? Why isn’t the Obama approval rating below the 13% Congress is getting?
What the IRS apologists would have us believe that we have here is a government department with the undisputed power of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, charged with the administration of taking in trillions of dollars every year, year after year, with all the record-keeping attendant thereto, yet doing so with Stone Age era technology, we’re told, upon which all the plagues that Moses and God could release 3,500 years ago seem to have been revisited recently, all the while laboring to discharge its duties loyally like good little civil “servants” while right-wing congressional zealots attack them with stupid questions and subpoenas.
Anyone who believes that, line up over here on the Left.
Brooklyn Bridge, straight ahead.