06.05.2013 2

IRS employee contract promised no political coercion

By Willie Deutsch

In August of 2009 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agreed to a labor contract with the National Treasury Employees Union.  But Article 4 “Protections Against Prohibited Personnel Practices” contains sections that seem to indicate that in targeting organizations applying for tax-exempt status, IRS agents were required to break the terms of their union contract.

Section 8 of the preamble states that “Employees should be protected against arbitrary action, personal favoritism, or coercion for partisan political purposes; and prohibited from using their official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election or a nomination for election.”

While this contract was agreed to in Aug. 2009, by March 2010, IRS agents were clearly being directed to target organizations based on their political persuasion in an apparent effort to silence people who didn’t agree with the administration.

This contradiction was clear to ALG President Nathan Mehrens who said, “Obama’s IRS in Washington, D.C., by directing the political targeting by the agency against the tea party and other groups, may have compelled employees to violate their own contractual agreement. In part this is ironic, but it also perhaps explains why some Cincinnati employees had such strong misgivings about the targeting, as revealed recently in sworn testimony.”

In what universe were the actions taken by the IRS barely six months after this agreement not a violation of the contract? Mehrens called for more employees to step forward in order to “ensure those who are directly responsible for the targeting are held to account.”

A broader look at the values espoused in IRS agreement with the National Treasury Employees Union reveals a list of things Americans want government to stand for, but in light of recent incidents it reads more like a Saturday Night Live skit.

The introduction includes a short list of six IRS Values:

• Honesty and Integrity: We uphold the public trust in all that we do; we are honest and forthright in all of our internal and external dealings.

• Respect: We treat each colleague, employee and taxpayer with dignity and respect.

• Continuous Improvement: We seek to perform the best that we can today, while embracing change, so that we can perform even better in the future.

• Inclusion: We embrace diversity of background, experience, and perspective.

• Openness and Collaboration: We share information and collaborate, recognizing that we are a team.

• Personal Accountability: We take responsibility for our actions and decisions and learn and grow from our achievements and mistakes. [emphasis added]

In Light of recent scandals, are any of these believable?  With 76 percent of Americans believing a special prosecutor should be named to investigate the IRS scandal, and growing suspicion of the IRS from every sector very few Americans would name the IRS as the paragon of honesty and integrity.

Does the IRS’s idea of treating the taxpayer with dignity and respect include subjecting people they disagree with politically with endless petty and unprecedented requests to get a simple tax exempt status?

It’s easier to embrace “diversity of perspective” after you force the people you disagree with into silence.  Since the IRS values openness and collaboration no one would plead the 5th when their collaborative partner, Congress, wanted answers to some simple questions, right?

Of course if they actually believed in accepting accountability for their mistakes, somebody would have stepped forward to take direct responsibility for the scandal. But so far, nobody has admitted they directed the targeting.

Sadly, the IRS agreement with the National Treasury Employees Union reads like a laundry list of things Americans no longer believe the IRS stands for.  As the agency currently expanding to enforce the president’s healthcare program, this double standard by the agency and resulting distrust by the American people is chilling.

Willie Deutsch is Editor-in-Chief for NetRightDaily.com, and Social Media Director for Americans for Limited Government. You can follow him on twitter @williedeutsch.

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