11:59 pm, July 13, 2014

FederalNewsRadio.com - Purpose of Comments statement Click to show

Hubbard Radio, LLC encourages site users to express their opinions by posting comments. Our goal is to maintain a civil dialogue in which readers feel comfortable. At times, the comment boards following articles, blog posts and other content can descend to personal attacks. Please do not engage in such behavior here. We encourage your thoughtful comments which:

  • Have a positive and constructive tone
  • Are on topic, clear and to-the-point
  • Are respectful toward others and their opinions

Hubbard Radio, LLC reserves the right to remove comments which do not conform to these criteria.

  • 24
       

  • Heads that rarely roll
    Central Casting
    The only person harder to fire than a Federal employee is an incumbent member of Congress.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Not quite correct
    marxwj
    While it does take time to fire a federal worker, if they did something really wrong, they can be put on unpaid leave while their case is being resolved. Unions don't affect the firing of high level workers, as they are not represented by unions of union agreements. At most agencies, only clerical workers are represented by unions in any meaningful way, and with computers, there are very few clerical workers in the government anymore. I work with tradesmen and we have dismissed several of them in just a couple months, putting them on unpaid leave after a couple weeks. As stated in the article, executives and professionals can also be put in small offices with computers that are not hooked up to the office network so they can work on resumes and job applications while their case is being resolved. In the end though, the biggest problem with firing federal workers is that you have to prove they actually did something wrong, in most cases. You just can't swoop in and decide you want to fire people to make you feel good. In the IRS case, I imagine someone will be retired early, dismissed, or flee to another agency soon enough. In the Justice Department case, so far, I have seen nothing wrong in what they did. The Press is not immune from investigations. The AP was in contact with someone that was releasing top secret information that when released crippled vital anti-terrorism investigations. They got call records from 20 of more than 1,000 phone lines into that office to try to get a lead on who this criminal is. If the AP had been more civic minded, the Justice Department wouldn't have had to go to these measures.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Law Broken Regulations Ignored
    ben
    As discussed in previous posts, the IRS definitely committed crimes - felonies. The IG's audit report traced wrong doing from Cincinnati to the IRS's DC office, so more than a few rogue agents were involved. As to the AP, while no laws were broken, DoJ ignored its own policies and cast an overly broad net. Adding, a warrant that listed a Fox reporter as a criminal for pursuing his leads and DoJ has brought down the ire of the MSM upon the administration. That is an incredible stupid action. So far, we have a low to mid-level conspiracy at IRS, combined with a cover up of their actions. Criminality, plus a confederacy of dunces doesn't speak well of the administration.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • "a confederacy of dunces"?
    FERS_Fed
    Why are bringing up the Bush administration?
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Pay attention
    ben
    ... the subject is the IRS scandal and AP brain dead actions. Besides, any party that puts a bill together in secret, and ensures no amendments may be proposed, which Pelosi states, "we must vote on it to find what's in it;" then have two of its authors -- Hoyer and Baucus warn of an impending train wreck, while refusing to run for re-election, should be very quiet about calling anyone else "dunces."
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Sorry Charlie
    Moderate
    You must be writing about Obamacare, which you hate. Your Republican friends were invited to participate in the creation of the law. Your Republican friends did everything they could to stop the law including baying about death panels for granny and other nonsense. This forced the Democrats to compromise with the diverse members of the party in order to get the bill to become law. Only when the bill was going to pass did your friends decide to tell everyone to start over. Nice try at delay, but it did not work.----As far as the AP is concerned, you do not know whether any law was broken unless you are a lawyer and know how these AP people got the information. Additionally, the only IRS scandal is in the minds of the baying hounds out to get a spotlight and the tea party. Let the process work. And for what it is worth, I do not give a @#%$ whether a person is a Republican, Democrat, liberal, or conservative. I do my audits based on tax laws, regulations, IRS determinations, case law, etc. Politics will never enter into my determinations. That ends with a period. I believe I can say that about everyone in my office.
    worker
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Not quite
    ben
    ... the way it went. The present law -- the Affordable Care Act was written in closed session in the Senate without Republican contribution, nor were amendments allowed on the floor of the Senate. After it passed, it was sent to the House for a short review time for a 2,000 bill. Similarly, Republicans were shut out of contributions and amendments. As to the IRS scandal, it was a series of felonies, which originated either with the Determinations Unit in Cincinnati, or the Technical Unit in DC. In either case, both participated. The approval processes for many went well beyond the 270 limitations before red flag notifications were supposed to be sent. The IG investigation and the Congressional inquiries should determine at whose feet most of the blame lies. Moderate, I'm glad you do your work according to law, and regulations, without prejudice, However, some of your coworkers didn't.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Ben 1984 was 29 years ago. Newspeak is dead
    Moderate
    Again, you do not address what I wrote. The present law was written without Republican contributions because the Republicans refused to participate in the writing of the law. obama invited them to participate and they refused. They decided to get involved after the law was written and ready for passage. They wanted to start over. This is classic delay, delay, delay. It did not work. That is why the Democrats did it themselves. Please stop your revisionist theories. As to the IRS nonsense, you have yapped felonies without any basis for these accusations. You have no clue as to what happened. And how do you know where you so-called "felonies" originated. And what are the limitations you are writing about? Please explain what you are writing about per above and the red flag notifications. I do mostly income tax and related items audits and not TEGE work (non profits). As far as Congress is concerned, they are worthless in their investigations. Hopefully, the IG will do a professional, non public job. After the report is written, it should be made public. With few exceptions, the people I know and knew show the same integrity as me and presumably you as a defense auditor.
    worker
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Practice what you preach, Ben
    FERS_Fed
    Use Rep Pelosi's complete statement, which was, "But we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it, AWAY FROM THE FOG OF CONTROVERSY." ..... Surely you remember the controversies, like Sarah Palin's 'death panels' subsequently proven to be complete falsehoods. ..... And any 'impending train wreck' will be due solely to 'red state' governors failure to establish health care exchanges, choosing the welfare of health insurance companies' CEOs (and their political donations) over their constituents' health.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • What practice or preachment
    ben
    ... do you refer to? In the House, the Affordable Care Act was passed intact from the Senate. IAW, even House Democrats didn't have a say. The bill was voted on with little debate. Obviously, no one had sufficient time to study the bill before the vote. Enacting a bill without knowing what the bill will do is irresponsible. Red state and some blue state governors have chosen not to enact state exchanges because as expenses rise, the states will be stuck with a higher and higher percentage of the bill. For states that no not accept exchanges, the federal government will have to set up exchanges and bear all the cost. Since costs will be set at both type of exchanges, how will this profit the health care insurance companies?
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • "...even House Democrats didn't have a say"?
    FERS_Fed
    Well, that's odd because the bill's history says that it was INTRODUCED in the House 9/17/09 by Rep. Rangel with 40 cosponsors, where it passed 3 weeks later on a 416-0 vote. ..... It passed the Senate TWO & 1/2 MONTHS later on a 60-39 vote, and the conference action was voted on THREE MONTHS later. ..... FIVE & A HALF MONTHS weren't enough time for the GOP to study the bill? ..... Just because Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh say there wasn't enough time doesn't make it true.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • "...as expenses rise, the states will be stuck with a higher and higher percentage of the bill"?
    FERS_Fed
    You state rising health care expenses as a certainty. But recent studies indicate the opposite is happening. ..... Forbes - Health Care Cost Growth May Be Slowing Long-Term, New Studies Show (http://www.forbes.com/sites/frederickallen/2013/05/07/health-care-cost-growth-may-be-slowing-long-term-new-studies-show/) ..... Bloomberg - Health-Care Cost Slowdown Seen Saving Up to $770 Billion (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-06/health-spending-slowdown-may-last-as-habits-show-change.html) ..... Washington Post - Here’s why health-care costs are slowing (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/22/heres-why-health-care-costs-are-slowing/) ..... You don't suppose states might actually benefit from that, do you? And what about the benefit of having more and healthier citizens in the workforce? ..... Yeah, affordable health care is such a bad idea. NOT!
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Done anything wrong?
    Moderate
    First Ben, the report I heard about said that the IRS people making the determinations did not hing illegal. I do not know your audit procedures for defense, but I can say that my audits are very detailed. I ask a great many questions that are personal because the information is necessary for the examination of the return. I am sure that the people who had to make the IRC 501(c)(4) determinations had to ask many detailed questions so that they can determine whether these organizations qualified for the exempt status. Perhaps you, as a defense auditor, knows what the qualifications are and what information is needed to make this determination, but I tend to doubt it unless you studied the law and the IRM. So, for you to assert that laws were broken makes absolutely no sense. You also do not know whether the officials of these tea party organizations cooperated with the questions or just yapped at them.----As far as the donkeys in Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, they should keep their mouths shut and question the heads of the departments in respectful ways instead of baying for political spotlights. I do not blame the head of the department for refusing to testify. If the legislators would ask investigative questions instead of baying, then she should tell the truth. Otherwise, she should tell them to pound sand.
    worker
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • The IG Audit report
    ben
    ... did not attempt to rule on the legality of the actions, only referring to the actions as inappropriate. That is the objective of the subsequent IG investigation. As to the questions asked, I've pointed out that requiring donor and membership lists is illegal and has been for over 60 years. That request was standard in the questionnaire. Most of the questionnaire were approved and later standardized by the Technical unit in DC. The IG report stated that all copies were destroyed by the end of the report. I hope so, but copies are easy to make and distribute. While Congress does play to the audience, to a point, they did that many times before and still arrived at what happened and when. I'm old enough to remember HUAC inquiries into CPUSA and the KKK, and, yes, Watergate. Congress can always immunize a witness and demand testimony as fifth amendment protection no longer applies.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • What IG report?
    Moderate
    Wait a minute. Are you stating that IG reports do not state whether an activity is legal or not? If there a felony committed such as murder, an IG will only say it is inappropriate? Now you really have me confused. Why would an IG investigation do that? Also, are you confusing an IG report with a TIGTA Report. I will state now that if TIGTA agents found that a crime was committed that would be in the report. Again where is it written that requiring donor and membership lists is illegal? The court case you cited does not substantiate that. The court case was a ruling on a specific instance that it was not required. Court cases do not make an action a felony or misdemeanor. Since you know so much about TEGE workings, where did you get the information about standardized questionnaires and approved questions? I use a formed questionnaire that I modify through additions and eliminations, but that is a memory jogger. I do not know how TEGE people do their work because I never did it. Did you? Congress does a lousy job during investigations. The debacle in 1998 concerning IRS audits and collections procedures eventually showed very little abuse. However, those Congressional members made a big stink over very little.
    worker
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • "...the people who had to make the IRC 501(c)(4) determinations "?
    FERS_Fed
    Hey Mod, long time no hear from. ..... The TIGTA report included a table that summarized the IRC exemption clauses at issue. The table indicated that: (A) entities have to apply for exemption as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization to which donations are tax deductible, and that such organizations are prohibited from partisan political activities; and (B) entities don't have to apply to be a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization, but that donations to them would not be tax exempt, and such organizations may participate in partisan political activities. ..... Do you know which exemption the Tea Partiers were claiming?
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Hi FERS fed. The virus would not allow me to access the blog
    Moderate
    I will make an educated guess based on what I heard. They could not do 501(c)(3) as they do political work. As I have heard (c)(4) can do limited political work. I am not sure in this area. If there is a TEGE person out there, please give a better answer than I did. My guess is that the tea partiers went under (c)(4), but I do not KNOW the answer. If I had access to the information I do not believe I could give an answer because I BELIEVE the privacy act would apply. Linda, do you have any ideas? If you do TEGE work, do not respond.
    worker
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Hey Mod don't cover up for voter suppression
    contrarian
    Don't try to defend higher ups who broke the law, the front line people thought they were doing the right thing. Everything is so compartmentalized that noone knows where the orders came from. Yet the effect was to prevent one side of a political debate from participation. They did the Chicago way and Lerner was not a career IRS employee, she burrowed in. Who hired her? This scandal is just going to get worse, don't aid the cover up. Some IRS higher ups decided to help one political party, isn't that about as evil as you get in USA?
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • My View
    ben
    ...pretty much agrees with yours. I doubt that the corruption goes to the WH, but to mid to upper level IRS employees. Not the first time this has happened. Let the process continue and those found to be knowlingly guilty, fired and/or prosecuted. Low level agents should be instructed in what information is illegal to request. Perhaps, included in future Ethics training. Doesn't matter as to what the organizations applied for, illegal information should not be requested, nor should undue delays go unreported. All else is dross.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Finally
    Moderate
    We agree with let the investigations take their course. When I see evidence that mid level and higher ups are guilty, then I will buy into your position. I will also write that if low level agents are guilty the same should happen to them. I am a low level agent and I know better. I am a professional reasonably skilled worker.
    worker
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Guess I respond to Contrarian first
    Moderate
    How do you know who broke the law? What facts do you have that can be presented in court that would support your position. I do not know where you work, but I will write that we have a very good idea where the rules come from. The memos handed down generally cite the source of the rules. Further, if someone told me to go after an individual for political reasons, I could and would tell them what they could do with themselves after I went to the Union and TIGTA. You do not know what happened so wait. Or better yet, is there a TIGTA report for you to refer to. As of this point no one was deprived of anything. And what did Lerner do wrong? Be specific with your substantiation. And how do you know what she was? If you are right and the IRS decided to help a political party, that would be a disaster. But we do not know that. And stop your predictions. This sounds like the 1998 investigations which turned out to be pure garbage.
    worker
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • One more time
    ben
    I’ve spelled this out several times, but once more. The Treasury IG Audit report I refer to is at http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/auditreports/2013reports/201310053fr.pdf and is entitled Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review May 14, 2013 Reference Number: 2013-10-053. The audit report only identified what it referred to as “inappropriate actions” and did not attempt to identify the actions as illegal. This generated an IG investigation which would make a determination on which actions may be considered illegal. I see DoJ has also begun an investigation, as well. The Determinations Unit (Cincinnati) sent questionnaires to the organizations requiring additional information. Part of the information requested included donor and membership lists. The IG audit report, referenced a May 17, 2010 email stating, "the Determinations Unit specialist will send additional information request letters to the Technical Unit (DC) for review prior to issuance as part of the Technical Unit’s attempt to provide assistance to the Determinations Unit." This indicated that there was another activity besides the Cincinnati office involved in the approval process. Part of the information requested was donor and membership lists. Alabama vs. NAACP SCOTUS decision (1953) determined that governments may not demand copies of donor or membership lists. Now as to how this translates an actual violation of federal law, I would point to: 026 U.S. Code § 7214: Offenses by officers and employees of the United States. This law applies to any officer or employee of the United States who “with intent to defeat the application of any provision of [the Internal Revenue Code] fails to perform any of the duties of his office or employment.” This is punishable by termination of his employment, a fine of not more than $250,000 (under the Alternative Fines Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3571), and imprisonment of not more than five years. 18 U.S. Code § 241: Conspiracy against rights. Section 241 makes it unlawful for two or more persons to “conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in…the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States.” Violations are punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine. 18 U.S. Code § 242: Deprivation of rights under color of law. Section 242, enacted as a post–Civil War statute, makes it unlawful for anyone acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom to willfully deprive a person of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. Violations are misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. These laws were used in the past to prosecute similar actions. As to determining who is at fault, simply follow the paper and testimony trail in the IG audit report. I and hundreds of auditors have done this for over a century. And, investigators, in the case of the IG investigation. The real possibility exists, especially after reading comments in this and preceding ones, that lower level personnel did not realize they were participating in an illegal act. IRS should have included this as part of their ethics training. However, somewhere up the line, people did know. How high and who is the question that the investigations will determine. .
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Thank you for your response
    Moderate
    First, TIGTA did its own report to find out what the story was. It was not limited to civil actions such as inappropriate criteria. That is what it found. The summary does not indicate anything criminal happened. Since I work, I did not read the entire report, but only the summary.----Second, TIGTA is not IG. TIGTA is a treasury organization. IG, I believe is justice. IG may decide to do something whether TIGTA does it or not. Third, please read the cited Alabama decision. It does not outlaw the government's right to ask for membership lists. It did deny Alabama's right to request the Naacp's lists and that is all. Please read the decision and the reason. Fourth, it is common for staff to ask for technical advice or review. This does not make a conspiracy. Fifth, there must be an intent provable by the reasonable doubt standard. Asking what may or may not be inappropriate questions is not necessarily a crime. Setting an allegedly inappropriate standard is not a crime. I have asked what some may consider "inappropriate" questions. Guess what. The purpose of my questions was to enforce the law during my audits. That was and is my intent. I can very well understand how membership lists and donor lists could be very relevant. The auditor wants to make sure that the leaders or other relevant people are not violating IRC 501(c)(4) requirements. That would mean no criminal or probably no civil intent. Your so called cites are nice, but you have no clue as to what is criminal or what deserves civil action. Neither do I. How about if we wait until the non political investigators do their jobs before making allegations.
    worker
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Sorry, but you
    ben
    ... don't understand the IG system. TIGTA is the U.S Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. They provide IG support for Treasury. Each Department has its own IG, independent of the Department. The IGs contain auditors and investigators, and some techies. The TIGTA report was an audit report, not an investigation report. Where the work "inappropriate" is cited, that points to a possible violation of law, government weasel wording. The investigation is just starting. Alabama vs, NAACP is the basis for many decisions that apply to federal and state governments. It was the basis for denying access to membership lists from everything to the KKK to CPUSA. Its disturbing that IRS employees do not know the limitations of what they may require. The cites I gave were used to prosecute criminal actions for exactly what was demanded. There may well be a midlevel screw-up that is believed to be a much more involved conspiracy from above.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }