John Koskinen is the new face of beadledom in Washington, DC.
Serious as are the policy disagreements roiling Washington, none is as important as the structural distortion threatening constitutional equilibrium. Institutional derangement driven by unchecked presidential aggrandizement did not begin with Barack Obama, but his offenses against the separation of powers have been egregious in quantity and qualitatively different.
Regarding immigration, health care, welfare, education, drug policy and more, Obama has suspended, waived and rewritten laws, including the Affordable Care Act.
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Some say the judicial branch should not intervene because if Americans are so supine that they tolerate representatives who tolerate such executive excesses, they deserve to forfeit constitutional government. This abstract doctrine may appeal to moralists lacking responsibilities.
So, do we have a coverup at the IRS? Has a crime been committed? I don’t know. What I do know is that I am deeply disturbed by all this.
Maybe it’s just sloppy record-keeping, which would be bad enough. Most of the government’s business is now conducted digitally, and those records need to be properly handled. Or is it worse? Is the IRS deliberately keeping things from the public? Excuse my cynicism, but the IRS’s penchant for secrecy is what led Tax Analysts, using the new Freedom of Information Act, to sue the agency in the 1970s to force it to release private letter rulings. There have been several subsequent lawsuits to pry records that should have been public out of the agency’s hands.
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The exempt organization issue is now more than just fodder for conservative blogs. The IRS and the Treasury Department need to start being square with the American people and their Congress. Even if you hate the IRS — and I do not — a wounded and compromised tax collector (whether or not most of its wounds are self-inflicted) does no good for the country.
However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT), learn what Members of Congress pay in taxes, and prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading. Oh, and pay “public servants” what they are worth.